Albertans’ shared sense of responsibility for our forests has decreased the percentage of human caused wildfires in 2022, but there is still work to do.
While Oct.31 marked the end of the legislated wildfire season in Alberta, it is essential that people remain alert and responsive to conditions. The recent warm, dry weather was enjoyed by many across the province, but prompts a reminder to everyone that wildfires can start and spread at any time of year.
In the 2022 wildfire season, 56 per cent of wildfires were caused by human activity, around 38 per cent were caused by lightning and roughly six per cent are still under investigation.
“Diligence this summer resulted in a more than 10 per cent decrease in human-caused wildfires and we recorded fewer wildfires than the previous year overall. Wildfire staff work tirelessly keeping our forests safe and it’s great to see that their efforts have been supported by the public’s responsible behaviour. We’re not out of the woods yet, though – warm, dry fall conditions in some parts of the province mean that it’s still important for folks to stay alert to risks. Preventing wildfire is the duty of all Albertans.”
When enjoying the province’s beautiful forests outside of wildfire season, Albertans should remain cautious. Fall may be in the air, but wildfires can still occur. Until there is sufficient moisture on the ground, the threat of wildfire remains. Alberta Wildfire has resources strategically placed across the province that are ready to respond.
Alberta’s 2022 wildfire season
In 2022, a total of 1,254 wildfires burned about 153,124 hectares. This is compared with the five-year average (2017-2021) of 1,110 wildfires burning more than 190,000 hectares.
Thanks to manageable conditions here in Alberta, we were able to aid firefighting efforts in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska and Washington, and supported Parks Canada and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. We did this by sending 90 firefighters, overhead staff and aircraft to partner agencies in need.
Emerging technologies: prediction, detection and communication
Alberta Wildfire staff regularly explore and test new developments in wildfire prevention, suppression, mitigation and smoke detection to assess how adopting technology can support a rapid response.
This year, Alberta Wildfire tested technology that predicts and detects wildfires, and helps improve communication between staff. Each of these technologies assists with response planning, staff deployment and timely public communications. The results from the 2022 season will determine how these technologies might benefit the province’s efforts to fight wildfires.
Wildfire information on-demand
Information sharing about wildfires is key to public safety. Alberta Wildfire’s new digital tools put up-to-date information in your hands. The interactive wildfire dashboard delivers real-time wildfire information at the click of a button and has been viewed more than 325,000 times this season.
Download the Alberta Wildfire app to keep up to date on wildfires in your area. Use the app to learn about fire advisories, restrictions and bans across the province, or report a wildfire on your Apple or Android device.