The 2017 wildfire season officially began on March 1st
Protecting Albertans from the threat of wildfire is one of our highest priorities. That’s why March 1 is now legislated as the start of wildfire season. An earlier start to the wildfire season ensures firefighters are recruited, trained and positioned to respond quickly to any wildfires that happen in the early spring. Under the same legislation, penalties for abandoning campfires, burning without a permit, or burning during firebans have increased. (see below for more information on that)
Changes to the Forest and Prairie Protection ActThe Alberta government is committed to protecting Albertans and their communities from the threat of wildfire. Far too many wildfires are caused by human-activity and are 100 per cent preventable. Approximately 70 per cent of wildfires over the last six years have resulted from human activity. In fall of last year, we passed legislation to enhance wildfire prevention, to deter risky behaviour and give wildland firefighters more tools to keep Albertans and their communities safe.
- new penalties for violations such as abandoning campfires or burning during fire bans,
- and improving 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.
- The introduction of 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.
- Industrial users who knowingly contravene the Act and start a wildfire can be fined up to $1 million.
Penalties will be determined by a statutory decision-maker on a case-by-case basis.
The enhanced legislation and regulations are supported by recommendations from the 2011 Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review that followed the Slave Lake wildfires, and learnings from the previous two wildfire seasons and an online survey.
Please visit our website for more information.
Before you burn it, get your permit
As of March 1st, all burning activities in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area, excluding campfires, now require a fire permit. Fire permits are free and available at your local Agriculture and Forestry office. You can call 780-624-6190 for more information or to obtain your free fire permit.
Crop burning should be used as a final management option for unharvested crops. Consider bailing, removing the crops from field and later burning them away from the field.
Research has shown that burning crop residues has many negative effects. Burning reduces soil organic matter, carbon and nitrogen and can have negative effects on soil erosion, permeability and air quality. Burning disrupts the balance of microorganisms in the soil reducing the biological activity and overall soil health. Read more at agric.gov.ab.ca.
Want to know more about how to become FireSmart?
Visit our website for more information on how you can make your home more FireSmart.
Careers and Contractors
Online Wildfire Orientation for all operators will continue to be distributed through contract holders. If you require the link for online access, please email your request firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit www.wildfire.alberta.ca/jobs for more information on our many seasonal job opportunities.
To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (3473).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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Wildfire Information Officer
Report Wildfires 310-FIRE (3743)