The wildfire danger remains low
Higher precipitation throughout the summer and fall of 2016 have carried over into the spring. Generally cooler temperatures and a higher moisture content are keeping the danger level LOW.
Helicopters have been flying over Fort McMurray. No need for alarm! This is the sound of Alberta Forestry continuing to prepare for the wildfire season in the northeastern boreal. Supplies are being sent to look-out towers and base camps.
Better wildfire protection with funding boost
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:
- vegetation management
- legislation and planning
- development considerations
- interagency co-operation
- emergency planning
Before you burn it - get a permit
Wildfire Season started March 1, 2017. Fire permits are required for any burning in the Forest Protection Area (excluding campfires). Visit firepermits.alberta.ca or call toll free 310-0000. For backyard fire pits contact the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 780-792-5519.
Forest and Prairie Protection Act | Legislative and Regulatory Changes
The Alberta government is committed to protecting Albertans and their communities from the threat of wildfire. Many wildfires are caused by human-activity, approximately 70% over the past 6 years, and are 100 per cent preventable.
Last fall legislation was passed to enhance wildfire prevention, to deter risky behaviour and give wildland firefighters more tools to keep Albertans and their communities safe.
These regulation changes help support the legislation by including:
- new penalties for abandoning campfires or burning during fire bans
- improving the government’s ability to restrict higher risk activities, like fireworks and incendiary targets
The regulations also include specific direction for Industry including:
- consistent flare site precautions - all flare pits and flare stacks to be cleared of debris for 30 metres
- aligned debris disposal timelines for all industries to 12 months
- new administrative penalties of up to $10,000 per offence per day, for failing to comply with the Act and regulations
In addition, the updated Act provides the authority to pursue the recovery of any economic gain resulting from a person’s actions. Administrative penalties will be determined by a statutory decision-maker on a case-by-case basis. Industrial users who knowingly contravene the Act and start a wildfire can be fined up to $1 million. For complete details click here.
Please do your part to prevent wildfires this spring by making sure your winter burns 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.
Inside the Urban Service Area contact: Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 780-792-5519
Outside the Urban Service Area contact: Agriculture and Forestry at 780-743-7125
Area Information Coordinator
Fort McMurray Forest Area
office: 780-743-7265 | mobile: 780-799-9253