Whitecourt Area Update

Whitecourt Forest Area Wildfire Update - November 01, 2021

Posted on Mon, Nov 01, 2021

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The wildfire danger in the Whitecourt Forest Area is LOW.

Although we are experiencing cool fall weather, it is still important to continue to do your part to prevent wildfires. At this time of year, areas of dead grass can become dry and flammable. Firefighters urge everyone to use caution when working or recreating in grassy areas and to report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE (3743).

End of wildfire season

WINTER BURNING

From November 1st to February 28th fire permits are not required for burning in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. Although a fire permit is not required you are still responsible for any fires you ignite outside of the wildfire season. If you are planning on burning debris this winter it’s important to keep safe burning practices top of mind.

Prepare the site:

  • Choose a location that is on high ground and so the pile can be 25 meters or more away from structures and standing trees. 
  • Surround the pile with a fireguard that is at least 15 meters wide on top of bare mineral soil.
  • Ensure the pile is clean of dirt so it can burn cleanly and quickly. 

Report your site:

  • Before burning, notify your local forest area: your start and end dates, description of materials to be burned and the legal land description.
  • Signage - check with your local municipal office and/or roadway maintenance company to ensure notification systems are in place. 
  • Check the weather forecast before you ignite:
    • Check the wind speed - burn only when the wind speed is less than 15 kilometers per hour.
    • Check for the potential of a temperature inversion. In the case of an inversion, smoke can be trapped at the ground level where it can cause health and/ or driving
  • Safe burning practices:
    • Have someone on site monitoring the burn the entire time - if it escapes, immediately report it to the local forest area office. 
    • Have adequate tools, water and equipment on site when burning.
    • Only burn what you can control with the equipment, people and weather conditions you have available.

After you burn:

  • Spread out the remaining material within the pile.
  • Soak the area and ensure both heat and smoke are no longer 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.
  • If you have any questions about proper burning procedures, visit wildfire.alberta.ca or phone 310-0000.

 

winter burning

SMOKE

Smoke is always a particular concern when burning in the winter. With the risk of inversions and reduced visibility on roadways due to smoke from a burn it’s important to follow best practices. Here are some tips to consider when it comes to the risk of smoke from winter burning:

  • Refrain from burning when an inversion is in place or is forecasted.
  • Consult local municipalities and authorities on how to mitigate impacts when undertaking larger winter burning projects near communities or roadways.
  • Ensure smoke warning signs are in place before burning within half a mile (800 m) from a roadway. For more information on smoke management and to acquire signs, contact your local municipality. If you are outside of a municipality, contact Alberta Transportation. Read over the Recommended Practices for placement and instruction of a “Smoke Ahead” sign.
  • 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.
  • Ensure good snow cover in the burn area (more than 15 cm).
  • If you do notice smoke reducing visibility on roads, contact Alberta Transportation at 780 644 1851.

For additional information please contact your local forest area office or visit wildfire.alberta.ca


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CAMPFIRE SAFETY

We urge everyone to use caution when working and recreating outdoors. Never leave your campfire unattended.

Soak it, stir it, soak it again.

  • Let the fire burn down before you plan on putting it out. Spread the embers within the fire pit, then add water or loose dirt, and stir.

  • Expose any material still burning. Add more water and stir again until you can no longer see smoke or steam. Do not bury your fire as the embers may continue to smoulder and can re-emerge as a wildfire.

  • Repeat until your campfire is cool to the touch.

  • If your fire is out, you should not be able to feel any heat from the ashes.


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OHV SAFETY

You can reduce the risk of your off-highway vehicle causing a wildfire by following these simple steps:

  • Before you ride, clean out hot spots and remove debris from your machine.

  • After riding through muskeg or tall grass, stop and remove any build-up from your machine.

  • Carry firefighting equipment such as a small shovel, collapsible pail or fire extinguisher.

  • Wash your quad, trike or bike and keep it clean; do not wash in streams and creeks.

  • Make sure your muffler and spark arrestor are working properly.

  • Stop frequently. Take the time to knock debris from your machine’s hot spots. If the debris is smouldering, soak it, stir it, and soak it again to make sure it’s out.


RELATED INFORMATION
 
Fire Permits

780-778-7166

General Information Related to Alberta Wildfire or Fire Bans, Restrictions, or Advisories

1-866-FYI-FIRE

General/Other Forestry Related Questions

780-778-7153

For more information, please contact:
 
Provincial Information Officer 
Phone: (780) 420-1968

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