Fort McMurray Area Update

Fort McMurray Forest Area Wildfire Update - May 24, 2023

Posted on Wed, May 24, 2023


Fire bans are effective in reducing the number of human-caused wildfires and helping firefighters focus on existing or new wildfires.  It is extremely important for Albertans to respect the fire ban and OHV ban to help reduce human-caused wildfires. 

Wildfire Danger

The wildfire danger is EXTREME in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. Firefighters urge everyone to continue to use caution as a wildfire will ignite easily and spread quickly. There is a Fire Ban and OHV Restriction in effect, visit Alberta Fire Bans. Report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE(3473).

Fire Ban wide

 OHV Restriction wide


Due to the numerous wildfires in Alberta, smoky conditions will persist in communities and along highways. Anyone with health concerns should visit Alberta Health Services or call 811 for health advice from Alberta Health Link. Before travelling for information the latest road conditions or closures. Visit to see where the smoke is coming from and to view wildfires on a map, download the AB Wildfire App or visit the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard.

Screenshot 2023-05-24 150921

To see the forecasted fire danger click here, updates daily at 3:00 PM.


Fire lookouts are on high alert constantly watching for smoke and firefighters in helicopters are assessing potential sightings of wildfires, ready to respond to any new wildfires that may start.

A provincial state of emergency has been declared. Albertans who require assistance can call 310-4455 for wildfire related information.

Wildland firefighters urge everyone to be extremely cautious when out in the Forest Protection Area. Check your winter burns, and comply with Fire Bans and OHV restrictions. At this time, fine fuels are critically dry and very receptive to fire. 

While we always appreciate people calling in to report wildfires, the large volume of calls we are currently receiving is diverting our resources away from other essential tasks. You can always visit to see where the smoke is coming from, and as always, please still call 310-FIRE if you see smoke or flame that looks new and potentially unreported, but assume that larger columns of smoke have already been detected. Thank you!

If you see smoke or flame in the forest, call 310-FIRE (3473). 


Since January 1, 2023 there have been 19 wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area, burning a total of 41.46 hectares (ha). 

SWF081 was detected on May 14 and is located near Chipewyan Lakes. This wildfire is classified as burning out of control and is estimated to be 19,499 hectares in size. This wildfire was caused by lightning. The smoky conditions have improved and aircraft are able to assist in fighting this wildfire.

Currently, there are 13 aircraft, two unit crews and three firetack crews working on this wildfire. We are utilizing heavy equipment to secure the wildfire flank south of the Chipewyan Lake community. We also have a structure protection unit working to help with this wildfire. An evacuation order remains in effect for Chipewyan Lakes and surrounding area. Visit

MWF013 was discovered on May 5 and is approximately 0.53 ha in size. This wildfire is classified as under control and is not a threat to the surrounding communities at this time.

MWF015, MWF016 and MWF018 are now extinguished.

To view active wildfires across Alberta, click here.

Check out the RMWB website for additional information.


Wildland firefighters are urging that it is important to check your winter burns to ensure it is completely extinguished. With dry conditions and gusting winds, it's possible for a winter burn to re-emerge as an active wildfire. Even though it may not be showing any visible signs of activity, deep underground, there might still be an active fire burning.


A fire ban and OHV restriction is in effect within the Forest Protection Area across Alberta due to extreme fire danger.

Under this fire ban:

  • All existing Fire Permits are suspended (or cancelled)
  • No new Fire Permits will be issued


  • All outdoor wood fires are banned, including wood campfires on public lands, wood campfires on private land and provincial campgrounds
  • Backyard firepits
  • BBQ charcoal briquettes
  • The use of fireworks and exploding targets
  • The recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) on public lands, including designated OHV trails


  • Propane/natural gas-powered appliances
  • Open flame oil devices (e.g., turkey deep fryers, tiki torches)
  • Indoor wood fires contained within a device with a chimney and spark arrestor
  • All appliances must be CSA approved and used per manufacturer’s standards
  • Indigenous people when using an OHV for traditional purposes. Traditional purposes 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.
  • Off-highway vehicle use is still permitted on private lands.
If you are caught not abiding by the rules outlined above, you can be issued a ticket or charged for the cost of fighting a wildfire. For more information on fire ban and OHV restriction enforcement, click here.

If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 310-FIRE.

The fire ban and OHV restriction will remain in effect until conditions improve.


Since January 1, 2023 in the Forest Protection Area, there have been 521 wildfires burning a total of 1,031, 650.25 ha.

Wildfire Dashboard


The wildfire dashboard provides up-to-date wildfire information at the click of a button. This interactive tool displays important statistics on the number of active wildfires in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta, sizes, locations, suspected causes and more.

The dashboard builds on the former wildfire status map by displaying the most frequently accessed information in one convenient location.


Emily Smith
Wildfire Information Officer | Fort McMurray Forest Area
Phone: 780-799-9253
Screenshot 2023-04-14 102003


Alberta Wildfire, Alberta Fire Bans, FireSmart in Alberta, Alberta Emergency Alerts, Air Quality Health Index
Wildfire Smoke and Your Health, 511 Road Reports, and Emergency Preparation.

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