Edmonton News | Local Breaking | CTV News Edmonton
Wildfire risk on the rise in Alberta as warm weather creates dry conditions
EDMONTON -- Not everyone is welcoming the return of the warm, sunny weather in Alberta.
“The grass is yellow and dry and it is extremely flammable,” said Leah Lovequist, a Fire Information Officer in the Slave Lake Forest Area.
Officials are worried about the increasing wildfire risk.
“These fields were covered in snow last week and now they’re bare and this grass here is an extreme fire hazard in the spring,” Lovequist said.
Firefighters have started doing controlled burns in areas across the province in an effort to stay ahead of the situation. Crews in the Slave Lake Forest Area plan to burn 85 hectares of dead, dry grass.
“To remove this fire danger and to help protect communities from future wildfires,” said Lovequist.
The province recently implemented a fire ban in the Alberta Protected Forest Area which covers most of northern Alberta because of COVID-19.
As things dry out, some municipalities have introduced restrictions of their own.
“We ask that people check albertafirebans.ca and it’ll show them where the fire ban is, if they’re under a fire ban,” said Travis Fairweather, Provincial Fire Information Officer.
Officials said most of the fires at the start of the season are preventable.
“From now until the end of May, until we see lightning, all of our fires in Alberta are human caused,” said Lovequist.
“If we don’t see some rain in the spring here we’re going to keep seeing the wildfire danger climb. Right now it’s low, we still have some snow in the forested areas but it is disappearing quickly,” she added.
Albertans are being urged to be careful no matter what part of the province they live in.
“Even if you aren’t within the fire ban we want people to use extra caution,” said Fairweather.
“Just make sure you’ve got some water nearby and that you never leave your fire unattended and you soak the ashes, you stir it and soak it again.”