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Wednesday, 02 August 2017 14:18

Fire bans extend throughout southern Alberta as hot and dry weather conditions continue

Written by  Demi Knight
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From left, Chad Morrison, with Alberta Wildfire; Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and Scott Long, with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency review a map of fire bans in Alberta. From left, Chad Morrison, with Alberta Wildfire; Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and Scott Long, with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency review a map of fire bans in Alberta. Photo contributed by Alberta Government

With the fires still blazing through British Columbia, causing the province to stay in a state of emergency, fire restrictions and bans have been called into action through parts of Alberta, and have throughout the month of July extended to reach further across the province.

The first fire restriction was called into action in Alberta July 7 where open fires on private land, back country and non-designated camping sites throughout parts of southern Alberta became prohibited. The restriction then fell further into the surrounding areas of Calgary and towards the northern border of Waterton Lakes National Park.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Oneil Carlier says the hot weather the province was experiencing in the month of July was what prompted this restriction to be set in place.          
“We’ve seen hot and dry weather across the province. These conditions have contributed to an extreme fire hazard, especially in southern Alberta, which means that it’s important we take these steps to help reduce the risk of human-caused fires.”
However, as the B.C fires continued to burn and the temperature within Alberta continued to spike to consistent highs of over 30 degrees Celsius, the fire restriction stretched further south of the province, causing a fire ban to be put into place across regions within the forest protection areas south of Red Deer along the mountains and foothills.
This fire ban in turn caused for suspension of existing permits and the denial of new fire permits to be issued for as long as the province remains in a state of high risk. This fire ban will also prohibit the use of fireworks and exploding targets in affected areas.
With little rain fall to help counteract the dangerous conditions, the province has extended the ban to include no fires within campgrounds until further notice; although gas and propane stoves are allowed during this time.
As conditions continue to worsen within the province and the weather forecasted to remain at dangerously hot and dry temperatures within the immediate future, a new feature was added to the ban on Aug. 1.
All off-highway vehicles (OHV) will now have restricted use on public lands in these forest protection areas throughout southern Alberta.
Carlier said these extra precautions are being added to the ban to help maintain minimal risks of these fast-spreading fires that can plague through the dry lands at this time of year.
“We are closely monitoring the situation as the fire hazard is reaching extreme levels throughout the forest in southern Alberta. Any fire that starts could spread out of control in a very short time, that’s why we are taking additional steps to reduce the chance of any human-caused fires starting.”
Although Alberta has a productive system of 689 firefighters, with 69 helicopters, 40 pieces of heavy equipment and 18 airtanks, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Shaye Anderson says the province has a good system in place should they need to use it, and continue to monitor the B.C fires for evidence of further measures needing to be taken.
“Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency stands ready to respond and continues to closely monitor wildfire conditions across the province as well as within B.C. As Albertans know all too well, disasters and emergencies can strike at any time”
Any Albertans found to be violating this serious ban may be subject to a $287 ticket.
Although the fire ban remains in certain areas of the province, other jurisdictions across Alberta may also issue their own fire restrictions or bans as these dry and hot conditions continue.
The fire ban in multiple parts of the province remains in effect until further notice. Albertans can monitor the weather conditions and fire hazard risks, as well as existing fire bans online at:

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