2013 wildfire season has ended
With snow now starting to blanket much of the province, Albertans may assume there's enough moisture to eliminate the chance of starting a wildfire. While the risk of starting a wildfire maybe low, holdover fires can happen.
Holdover fires or ground fires often start during the fall and winter months as a result of improperly extinguished fires. This type of fire burns without smoke or flame and smolders underground over the winter. In the spring as snow melts and dry fuels become abundant, a little windy weather can set a blaze early in the wildfire season.
To avoid accidentally starting a holdover fire, it's important to check all burn areas to ensure they are out. To properly extinguish a fire, completely soak the area with water, stir up the ashes and soak the area again. Always check for hot spots around your fall and winter burn sites. Feel for heat in the spring and times of dry windy weather. To report a wildfire call 310-FIRE (3473)
Be Firesmart: take the first step
Large amounts of dead grass and other vegetation in your yard can dry out quickly becoming flammable as early as mid-March. In fact, the highest number of wildfires in the Grande Prairie Wildfire Area occur in April and May.
The first step to becoming FireSmart is to conduct a Wildfire Hazard Online Assessment. This assessment is intended for structures that are within or near the edge of a wildland area. Wildland areas can include grasslands, shrub areas, and forests. The areas where structures and wildland mix or meet are called the wildland-urban interface.
Pile burning during the fall and winter months
Debris should be hauled and piled on an existing road or other compact areas to reduce the risk of fires holding over during the winter months. Avoid constructing piles where water drains (example: ditches, streams and creeks).
Keep piles tall, tight and dirt free: to achieve a clean burn avoid mixing mineral soil up into the pile. Select proper machinery to construct piles such as a brush rake or loader. Piles should be built to a height of 3 meters in a beehive shape. It may be easier to burn aspen piles by placing coniferous fuels at the bottom of the pile.
For more information about safe burning contact the Grande Prairie Wildfire Management Area Fire Center at (780) 538-5560 or call toll free (310-0000)
For more information contact:
Forestry Information Officer
Grande Prairie Wildfire Management Area
Cell.(780) 832 7235