WILDFIRE HAZARD UPDATE
A mix of rain and snow combined with cooler temperatures keeps the wildfire hazard LOW in the Whitecourt Forest Area. Once the weather becomes warm and dry, large areas of dead, dry grass will once again create a significant wildfire hazard.
Consider postponing any non-essential burning or use of an off-highway vehicle in snow-free areas until after grasses and leaves turn green.
Currently, there are no active wildfires in the Whitecourt Forest Area. For information on the wildfire situation across the province of Alberta, visit wildfire.alberta.ca.
WILDFIRE PREVENTION MEETING FOR OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY MEMBERS
There is the opportunity to have wildfire prevention staff come to your work site and deliver the presentation or set up an online meeting. Contact [email protected]
Once weather conditions improve, firefighters will take advantage of the snow-free conditions and will be burning areas of dry grass in and around many communities in the Whitecourt Forest Area. Burning helps to remove hazardous areas of dead, dry grass that is prominent around many communities in the spring. Removing hazardous grass reduce the risk of fast moving spring wildfires. If you have any questions contact 780-778-7272.
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.
If crop burning is necessary and you live in the Whitecourt Forest Area, by law you require a fire permit that will ensure safe burning practices are followed. Get your free fire permit by calling:
- Whitecourt patrolman at 780-778-1590 or
- Whitecourt Fire Centre at 780-778-7272.
As of March 1, a free permit is required for all burning (except for campfires) within the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. New penalties now exist for failure to produce a fire permit when requested by a forest officer, read more here.
Fire permits allow our wildfire managers to know where planned burns are taking place so firefighters are free to fight new wildfires.
How to get started:
- To save time, start by preparing your burn site so that it will meet the fire permit requirements.
- Call our office at least one week before the intended burn date.
- For a fire permit call the Whitecourt patrolman at 780-778-1590 or the Whitecourt Fire Centre at 780-778-7272.
Learn more about fire permits.
NEW WILDFIRE PROTECTION REGULATIONS IN EFFECT MARCH 31, 2017
Enhancements to the Forest and Prairie Protection Act (FPPA) regulations include:
- New penalties for infractions such as leaving a campfire unattended or burning without a permit
- Restrictions on the use of fireworks or exploding targets in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta without written permission from a forest officer
- Improvements to flammable debris disposal and other industry-based requirements
- Activities that interfere with the fighting of a wildfire, such as the unauthorized use of drones near a wildfire, will result in an automatic court appearance
Individuals who knowingly contravene the Forest and Prairie Protection Act by starting a wildfire can be fined up to $100,000 or face imprisonment for up to two years. Read more here.
Industrial users who knowingly contravene the Act and start a wildfire can be fined up to $1 million; learn more here.
If you see smoke in the forest call 310-FIRE(3473).
Unless conditions change, your next wildfire update will be on April 21, 2017.