As part of Alberta Wildfire's Response Plan to COVID-19, a Fire Ban was issued for the Forest Protection Area of Alberta effective April 15th at 2:00 pm.
In order to further reduce the risk of wildfire starts, an OHV restriction was issued for some areas in the province (including the Peace River Forest Area) effective May 7th at noon.
These measures aim to reduce the number of human caused wildfires, as most if not all wildfires in the early spring are caused by human activity.
Reducing human-caused wildfires helps keep our firefighting resources focused where they are most needed, especially when our firefighting resources may be challenged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more details, please read below or visit www.albertafirebans.ca.
Due to the warm temperature, low relative humidity values and wind, the wildfire danger is now VERY HIGH in the Peace River Forest Area. Any wildfires that start in the dried, cured grasses and forest vegetation will spread very quickly under windy conditions.
So far this season, there have been nine wildfires in the Peace River Forest Area, all of which have been extinguished.
For more information on the wildfire situation across the province of Alberta, visit: wildfire.alberta.ca.
OHV RESTRICTION NOW IN EFFECT
An OHV restriction was issued for the Forest Protection Area of Alberta effective May 7th at 12:00 pm. The OHV restriction is in effect within the Forest Protection Area (FPA) of Alberta in the High Level Forest Area, Peace River Forest Area, the northwestern portion of the Slave Lake Forest Area and the rural areas surrounding Fort McMurray.
The recreational use of OHVs on public lands, including designated OHV trails.
- Indigenous people when using an OHV for traditional practices. Traditional practices are hunting, fishing, and trapping – including the use of an OHV to travel to the location(s) for these purposes.
- Essential industry-related activities requiring the use of OHVs. PLEASE NOTE: Those that fall under this exemption are required to carry fire fighting equipment with them as per the Alberta Forest Protection Act and Regulations.
- Off-highway vehicle use is still permitted on private lands.
- An off-highway vehicle restriction exemption is also in place for those licenced for the spring black bear hunt.
If you’re found to be operating an OHV recreationally during an OHV restriction, you may be issued a $1200 ticket. Individuals found responsible for starting a wildfire may be charged and fined the cost of fighting the fire.
What is considered an OHV?
An “off-highway vehicle” is a motorized vehicle designed to go beyond defined roadways, including but not limited to:
- side by sides
- dirt bikes
- 4x4 Jeeps
- pick-up trucks
- sport utility vehicles
Cities, towns, villages and summer villages as well as Federal lands (such as National Parks) are exempt from this restriction. These jurisdictions have the authority to issue their own restrictions and may have complementary restrictions in place.
FIRE BAN IN EFFECT
A fire ban was issued for the Forest Protection Area of Alberta effective April 15th at 2:00 pm.
• wood campfires on public lands.
• wood campfires on private land and provincial campgrounds.
• backyard firepits
• barbeques with charcoal briquettes.
• propane / natural gas powered appliances
• open flame CSA approved oil devices
• wood fires in an enclosed facility or device, which have a chimney with a spark arrestor
Please note: All devices must be CSA approved and used as per manufacturer standards. An enclosed facility or device is one that is fully contained with a chimney that has a spark arrestor. Users are still responsible for care and attendance of all devices and should reduce their use during fire restrictions and bans. Approved activities or devices will not prevent potential prosecution or litigation if the user or device starts a wildfire.
Anyone found to be non-compliant of the fire ban may receive a violation ticket of $600.
All current fire permits are suspended. Some allowances may be made for essential agricultural and industrial burning at the discretion of a Forest Officer. Please note: The burning of yard debris or the use of burn barrels is not considered to be essential burning.
Please call 780-624-6190 for more information on fire permits in the Peace River Forest Area.
Some of the municipalities adjacent to the Forest Protection Area have also put fire bans in place. For more information or to see if there are restrictions where you live, work or recreate, visit www.albertafirebans.ca, visit your municipality's website or social media accounts or contact your local municipal office.
HAZARD REDUCTION BURNING
Over the next several weeks, firefighters will be burning areas of dry grass in and around many communities in the Peace River Forest Area. These burns are conducted by trained firefighters and under specific conditions to ensure they are controlled and to minimize smoke. Spring grass burning lessens the risk of human–caused fires and helps protect homes and communities from future wildfires.
COVID-19 AND WILDFIRE
New COVID-19 safety measures have been developed in cooperation with workplace health and safety officials and Alberta Health. Key areas such as training, warehousing, aviation, and detection are some of the many areas being reviewed and adjusted to ensure staff safety.
If you have any questions, please contact our office at 780-624-6190.
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate through these difficult times.
For more information, visit:
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Wildfire Information Officer