SAFE WINTER BURNING PRACTICES
While Albertans currently do not require a fire permit for burning within the Forest Protection Area, safe burning practices are always in season. Fire permits will be required again starting March 1, 2017
The risk of a wildfire doesn’t end when wildfire season does – any time there is a fire on the land, there is a risk that it can spread.
If fires aren’t properly put out, they can spread and burn underground, under the snow and ice, all winter. Under the right conditions, these fires can re-emerge in the spring as wildfires.
Take the time to properly prepare your burn site,know the requirements you need to be successful during your burn and know how to extinguish your burn effectively.
- Have someone monitoring the burn the entire time - if it escapes, immediately report it to 310-FIRE.
- Only burn what you can control with the equipment and people you have available and adjust your burning according to weather conditions.
- Build it right. Brush piles or debris windrows should be free of soil, built to a maximum height of 3 metres, with a fireguard or cleared land around it to stop the spread of fire.
- Ensure good snow cover in the burn area (more than 15 cm).
After you burn:
- Spread remaining material within the pile and soak with water as required.
- Check the area and ensure that neither heat nor smoke are being produced by the pile - it should be cool to the touch.
- Check your burn site multiple times in the following weeks to ensure it has not reignited.
More about safe burning practices can be found on our website.
Safe burning practices are always in season - don't let your winter burn come back to life in the spring.
To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (3473).
The lower fire hazard in winter is a safer time to consider doing your burns, though there are still some necessary precautions to take before burning, like monitoring the weather to ensure smoke from your burn won't negatively impact surrounding areas.
On particularly cold winter days, inversions and other weather factors can cause smoke from a winter burn to stay close to the ground and travel great distances. An inversion happens when cold air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warmer air above it. Inversions can cause dangerous driving conditions and impact nearby communities.
- For information on ventilation conditions within the province, visit Environment Canada Ventilation Index
- Refrain from burning when an inversion is in place or has been forecasted.
For more information on local forecasted weather during the winter, please visit Environment Canada website.
Additional provincial weather information related to wildfire conditions can be found on the Alberta Wildfire website
- Consult local municipalities and authorities on how to mitigate impacts when undertaking larger winter burning projects near communities or road ways.
- Actively manage burn projects to reduce disposal time and smoke impacts.
- Burning debris in stages will allow you to adapt to changing weather conditions and reduce smoke.
- Monitor weather conditions: lower temperatures and lighter wind speeds can result in stronger inversions. The ideal conditions for burning are typically days with average temperatures and wind speeds over 5 km/h.
- Always ensure proper safety precautions are taken when burning and appropriate signage is in place when burning within a mile of a roadway. Always take the safety concerns that may arise from the smoke your burning creates into consideration.
For safety tips for driving in smoky areas, visit the Alberta Transportation website.
If you see smoke that is creating a safety concern on roadways, please report it to Alberta 511.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Barry A. Shellian RPFT
Wildfire Information Officer
Rocky Forest Area
Department of Agriculture and Forestry
May the forest be with you