Wildfire season runs from March 1 to October 31 in Alberta, which means permits are now required for activities such as residential, industrial or agricultural debris burning (excluding campfires) in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta.

‘The wildfire hazard is typically highest in the spring months when fuel like trees and grasses have extremely low moisture content after the snow has melted and evaporated,’ says Melissa Story, provincial information officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

‘Last season proved to be one of the slowest years Alberta has seen in decades in terms of both number of wildfires and area burned. It’s still early to say what this season will hold, but we don’t expect 2 slow seasons in a row.’

In 2020 Alberta saw 704 wildfires burn 3,269 hectares (or 8,078 acres). That compares to the 5-year average of 1,346 wildfires burning approximately 393,000 hectares (or 971,124 acres). Of the 704 wildfires in 2020, 88% were human-caused.

‘If you did any winter burning go back and check your burn sites to make sure they’re out. Spread around any remaining debris so you can probe the area for hotspots. If you see smoke or feel heat, the fire is still burning. Douse any remaining hotspots with water and stir up the ashes. A fire is not out until there is absolutely no heat emanating from the ashes,’ says Story.

Fire permits are free and can be obtained by contacting any Alberta Agriculture and Forestry office. Call toll-free 310-0000 to locate your nearest office. For information on fire permits, go to www.wildfire.alberta.ca/firepermits.

Up-to-date information on fire restrictions, fire bans, OHV restrictions and general wildfire information is available at www.albertafirebans.ca or by calling 1-866-FYI-FIRE (1-866-394-3473).

Contact

For more information, contact the Provincial Information Officer:
Phone: 780-420-1968
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line:
Phone: 780-422-1005