Stong and gusty winds have caused the wildfire hazard to climb to VERY HIGH for this afternoon. Currently the winds are blowing from the southeast gusting 40 to 50 kilometers per hour.Use extreme caution in areas of dry grass and report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE (3473). Areas of dead grass are extremely dry and a fire will spread very quickly under these windy conditions.
In response to the very high wildfire hazard, we have firefighters with helicopters, an airtanker and various pieces of heavy equipment are stationed throughout the area ready to fight any new wildfires that may start. We also have our personnel in the fire towers on high alert constantly watching for smoke.
Wildfire Situation Report
At this time, firefighters are working on a small grass fire in the Fawcette Lake area. The grass fire is 0.1 hectares in size.
Since March 1, 2017, the Slave Lake Forest Area has recorded seven wildfires and the total area burned is 0.34 hectares.
Before you burn it get a fire permit. As of March 1st, fire permits are required for any burning (excluding campfires) in the Forest Protection Area.
To obtain your free fire permit call your local Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Office:
Slave Lake/Red Earth/Peerless/Trout 780-849-7377
High Prairie 780-523-6619
Last year in Alberta, 60% of wildfires were caused by humans. Human caused wildfires are 100% preventable so please do your part to prevent wildfires this season.By getting a fire permit you help keep our firefighters free to fight real wildfires instead of responding to the smoke in your backyard.Fire permits help us to track what is burning on the landscape and if you are burning without a fire permit your fire is considered a wildfire.
If you have conducted any burning this winter, be sure to go back and check your winter burns to make sure they are extinguished. A fire left smouldering can burn under the snow all winter and emerge as a wildfire in the spring when conditions are warm and dry.
When checking your winter burning, spread around any remaining debris so you can probe the area for hot spots. Use your bare hand to feel for heat over the ash piles. If you see smoke or feel any heat, the fire is still burning beneath the surface. Douse any remaining hot spots with water and stir up the ashes. A fire is not completely extinguished until there is absolutely no heat emanating from the ashes. Report your winter burns to Slave Lake Forest Area Wildfire Technologist Russell Murphy by calling 780-849-7457 or by email Russell.Murphy@gov.ab.ca
Firefighters will be burning areas of dry grass in and around many communities in the Slave Lake Forest Area over the next several weeks. Burning helps to remove the dangerous build-up of dry grass that becomes prominent around many communities in the spring. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Wildfire Information Officer Leah Lovequist 780-849-0945.
The Alberta government is providing $15 million a year for its FireSmart program, up from $3.8 million last year, to help communities boost their wildfire protection activities.
The FireSmart program will receive $45-million over the next three years, which includes $10.5 million for fire prevention work in the Fort McMurray area.
FireSmart is a nationwide program that helps municipalities and residents reduce the risk of wildfire in their communities. The funds will help communities develop tools and tactics such as:
legislation and planning
Over the past five years, the provincial FireSmart program has invested over $35 million to help 95 communities develop FireSmart initiatives in their municipalities.
Enhancements to the Forest and Prairie Protection Act regulations include:
New penalties for infractions such as leaving a campfire unattended or burning without a permit
Restrictions on the use of fireworks or exploding targets in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta without written permission from a forest officer
Improvements to flammable debris disposal and other industry-based requirements
Under the enhanced regulations individuals who knowingly contravene the act by starting a wildfire could face fines of up to $100,000 or face imprisonment and industrial users could be fined up to $1 million.
Effective May 1, officers will be authorized to issue tickets for contraventions, like leaving a campfire unattended. Depending on the infraction, individual fines for specific violations could result in tickets ranging from between $172 and $575.
Click here to find out what this means for Albertans.
Click here to find out what this means for Industry.
For more information on the Enhancements to the Forest and Prairie Protection Act Regulations click here.