An abandoned campfire was determined to be the cause of last week’s Devil’s Head wildfire north of Canmore, that burned more than 676 hectares (about 1,670 acres) of forest. The area is a popular spot for hikers and hunters.

The wildfire was reported on September 4 by members of the public calling 310-FIRE.

Agriculture and Forestry wildfire investigators are actively working with the RCMP to identify hikers and other individuals who were in the area at the time. 

Investigators would like to speak with people who were in the area between Aug. 30 and Sept. 4 and who may have information. The toll-free tip line number is 833-999-3473.

“There’s no excuse for leaving a campfire unattended. Before you leave, ensure it’s completely extinguished: soak it, stir it and soak it again. Last year, 71 per cent of wildfires were caused by humans and were entirely preventable. We must do better.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Higher fines

In April 2019, the government announced higher fines for non-compliance to reflect the seriousness of the measures Albertans must take to prevent wildfires.

Fines for failing to extinguish a campfire can range from $600 to $840. The current fine for an abandoned campfire is $600. Anyone found responsible for starting a wildfire may have to go to court to face additional charges and fines.

Properly extinguish your campfire

  • Let the fire burn down before you plan to extinguish it. Spread the embers within the fire pit, then add water or loose dirt and stir.
  • Expose any materials still burning, then add more water and stir again until you can no longer see smoke or steam. Do not bury your campfire, as the embers may continue to smolder and can re-emerge as a wildfire.
  • Repeat until your campfire is cool to the touch. You should not be able to feel any heat from the ashes.

Quick facts

  • Check for fire bans across the province by visiting albertafirebans.ca.
  • To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (3473) toll-free from anywhere in Alberta.

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