Edson Area Update

Edson Forest Area Wildfire Update - September 19, 2023

Posted on Tue, Sep 19, 2023


Please ensure you fully extinguish your campfire, including your small cooking and warming fire. Soak the ashes, stir them and soak them again until they're cool to the touch. 

All burning, with the exception of a campfire, requires a fire permit during wildfire season. Apply online or contact your local forestry office for your free permit.

If you see smoke or flame in the forest and suspect it's a wildfire, call 310-FIRE.

133 Sept 19 Ansell Tower

Three of the 11 fire lookouts will remain open in our forest area this fall. The locations are chosen based on a number of factors which include fire danger and accessibility (Sept 2023).

Bold indicates new or important information | This update is best viewed on a web browser or the AB Wildfire Status App | Previous Edson Forest Area Updates - Click here.


The wildfire danger in the Edson Forest Area is MODERATE. This means that fire is likely to creep along the surface of the ground. The fire would have difficulty spreading to deeper vegetation layers or larger fuels such as trees, therefore firefighters don't anticipate any large growth wildfires under the current conditions. You can view the provincial wildfire danger map and learn more about how to interpret fire danger by clicking here

Since January 1, 2023, there have been 79 wildfires in the Edson Forest Area burning a total of 234,558 ha. There are currently six active wildfires, all are classified as under control. One is human-caused, four are caused by lightning and one remains under investigation.

Visit our website and click on the interactive map to view active wildfires, their locations and stats on the wildfire dashboard


Since January 1, 2023 in the Forest Protection Area, there have been 1,017 wildfires burning a total of 2,054,528 ha. Last year, there were 1,109 wildfires by this date with a total of 128,365 ha burnt. The 5 year average on this date is 1,040 wildfires with a total of 206,791 ha burned. 


Cooking and warming fires are common this time of year and firefighters will find them often unattended or abandoned. We believe this may be unintentional because the public doesn't understand the risk these fires pose. Cooking and warming fires are slightly different from campfires because they're used for a short period of time and the hunter or recreationalist will often leave the area soon after. If you're having a cooking or warming fire during your hunt or ride, please be familiar with building it safely and how to properly extinguish it.

We recommend using an existing fire receptacle if possible, otherwise, choose a location that's on level ground, sheltered from the wind and on bare mineral soil. If you build your fire on peat or top soil, you risk creating a deep burning fire that could be challenging to extinguish. Keep it away from dry grass, leaves or branches and keep water close by. Be mindful that if you build it on snow, the fire can still burn into the ground and smoulder for a long period of time. The snow could also melt later that day, exposing dry vegetation. 

Before you leave, ensure you fully extinguish the fire, otherwise it could smoulder under ground for days or even weeks and re-surface when the conditions are right for a wildfire. Your fire isn't fully extinguished until the burnt wood and ashes are cool to the touch.

To learn more about campfire safety, visit our website by clicking here



With fall drying conditions, firefighters anticipate detecting a few wildfires in the coming months so please take necessary precautions this fall and ensure you keep watch of your surroundings. Hot exhaust, friction and spark can catch in the dry vegetation easily and under the right conditions, could burn quickly.

For the past 10 years, the Edson Forest Area has detected an average of eight wildfires in Sept, six in Oct and one in Nov. Although wildfires in December do occur, they’re much rarer. That being said, don’t let the thin layer of snow get your guard down. When vegetation is exposed, winter wildfires can occur if strong wind conditions are present.

Always keep tools and some form of extinguishment with you in your vehicle when working in the field. We understand that carrying water may be difficult when freezing conditions are happening but keep these risks in mind. Avoid working near or over dead and dry vegetation, especially during windy days. Before you leave your site or field, ensure that there are no sparks that may have landed in nearby vegetation that could cause a wildfire.

For more information, visit the Farm and Acreage Magazine online by clicking here.


Wildfire season in Alberta is from March 1 until October 31. During wildfire season, you are required to have a fire permit if you plan on burning in the Forest Protection Area, with the exception of a campfire. To request your free fire permit, contact the local forest area: (780) 723-8527 or you can request your permit using the new, convenient online fire permit portal. To view the video, click here.


EWF031 was detected on May 4, is 201,913 ha in size and determined to be caused by lightning.

EWF039 was detected on May 5, is 165 ha in size and determined to be human-caused. 


WCU001 was detected on April 29 and 6,284 ha in size.

WCU002 was detected on April 29 and 2,478 ha in size.

EWF035 was detected on May 5, is 19,672 ha in size and remains under investigation.


EWF037 was detected on May 6, is 12,073 ha in size and determined to be caused by lightning.

EWF040 was detected on May 6, is 578 ha in size and determined to be caused by lightning.

The wildfires will continue to be monitored for activity and be actioned by local wildland firefighting crews when needed. A reclamation plan has begun and equipment have started working on identified areas. This work is anticipated to continue into the winter months. 

All of these wildfires are now classified as under control which means that firefighters have this fire fully contained and it is not expected to grow. None of these wildfires pose a threat to any communities or properties, including the Town of Edson. To learn more about wildfire classifications, click here. To view actual locations of the wildfires, visit the wildfire dashboard.

132 Sept 26 Western side of EWF031

Aerial view of EWF031 on the western boundary near Hwy 47. The burnt trees are very noticeable now and can see how the wildfire burnt in a mosaic pattern. The photo was taken here facing west (Sept 14, 2023).


UNDERSTANDING WILDFIRE BEHAVIOUR | There are many factors that affect a wildfire and its growth, such as the wind, temperature and the forest fuel moisture conditions. You may have seen the Forestry fire danger signs that are posted around your communities, along highway 16, in Grande Cache on highway 40 and the Edson Forestry warehouse. We set the fire danger based on a number of factors, including the Fire Weather Index (FWI). The FWI is derived from data collected daily at various weather and includes observations of temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and 24-hour precipitation. The FWI is a system used across Canada to quantify the fire hazard based on forest fuel moisture, temperature, relative humidity and forecasted winds.

UNDERSTANDING WILDFIRE CLASSIFICATIONS | When firefighters classify a wildfire as OUT OF CONTROL, it means that the wildfire is burning and is expected to continue to grow within and possibly outside of its present boundary. The classification of BEING HELD means that under the current weather conditions and the resources available, there will be no unexpected growth, however firefighters anticipate the possibility of a small amount of spread which would be normal on a wildfire of this size. UNDER CONTROL means that the fire is fully contained, firefighters don't except any growth and the next stage would be extinguished. To learn more about wildfire classifications, click here


Albertans are always asked to use caution when working or recreating in the outdoors:

Exploding targets


For more information, please contact: 


Colby Lachance on behalf of Caroline Charbonneau

Colby Lachance
Alberta Forestry & Parks | AB Wildfire
Wildfire Information Officer | Lac La Biche Forest Area
Cell:  780-404-9186
Caroline Charbonneau, RPFT
Alberta Forestry & Parks | AB Wildfire
Wildfire Information Officer | Edson Forest Area
Cell:  780-740-1341
Caroline Button High Qua


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