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Here's how Edmonton is preparing to battle wildfire season


The City of Edmonton says it's ready to take on wildfire season as another dry spring causes grass fires and bans in the capital region.

On Tuesday, Edmonton's fire chief outlined how the city and firefighters have prepared and what Edmontonians can do to help.

"Last year, our crews, our staff, city staff, our partners did an incredible job supporting the wildfire season and those that needed us," chief Joe Zatylny said.

"We had a look at what worked last year and how can we prepare and do even more, and so looking at things like studies of the river valley, active monitoring, working closely and comparing operational plans with each of our different partners to make sure we're doing our best to prevent and mitigate, and if the time comes, respond to those fires is just a good proactive approach that we're taking and I think it's prudent and smart to do."

In part, Edmontonians are asked to become "FireSmart" and follow fire bans and fireworks rules.

“We need everyone to play a role and help us," Zatylny said. "We want Edmontonians to know the actions they can take to prevent wildfires."

River valley safety

There have been more than 145 wildfires in Edmonton since Jan. 1, the city said, from the outskirts all the way to the river valley.

Several of those fires started in homeless encampments around the North Saskatchewan River.

"There's a variety of reasons why encampments pose a fire risk, and of course, the open ignition sources or intentionally set fires that are being used, whether it's cooking or eating, creates all sorts of risks," the fire chief said. "We want those people to be looked after, of course, and do our best to make sure that they're supported."

Drones will be used to monitor the river valley and attempt to prevent encampment fires.

"The river valley is a high risk and we want to make sure we're doing our best to mitigate that risk," Zatylny said.

"If there's a response in the river valley this summer, they can expect to see a lot of resources."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson and Alex Antoneshyn Top Stories

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