Fort McMurray Area Update

FIRE BAN IN EFFECT for the Forest Protection Area in Alberta / OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE RESTRICTION LIFTED

Posted on Sat, May 23, 2020

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Wildfire Update - May 26, 2020

The wildfire danger rating in the Fort McMurray Forest Area is LOW north of Fort Chipewyan and HIGH south of Lake Athabasca. The fire ban remains in effect. Cured, dry grass is the largest concern as fires that start can still spread quickly under current conditions.

Since March 1, there have been six new wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. All fires have been extinguished.

There are currently nine wildfires in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. Five of these wildfires are under control and four have been turned over to the responsible parties.

For more information on the current wildfire situation across the province of Alberta, visit wildfirestatus.alberta.ca

OHV RESTRICTION LIFTED

Because of the precipitation in many areas of the province, the off-highway vehicle restriction in effect in the High Level Forest Area, the Peace River Forest Area, the northwestern part of Slave Lake and the rural areas surrounding Fort McMurray has been lifted. This restriction can be phased back in if needed to address wildfire risk area-by-area. We will continue to evaluate the situation daily. 

If you choose to drive an off-highway vehicle in Alberta’s forested areas please remember:

  • OHV exhausts can get very hot, reaching temperatures of over 200 Celsius, causing debris caught near the exhaust to become superheated. This debris can potentially start a wildfire when it falls to the ground.
  • It is crucial for Albertans to stop and check OHVs and the ground for any debris that may have fallen.
  • Before you ride, clean any debris that has built up near the exhaust and muffler, under the seat, in wheel wells and around the engine.
  • Always carry a small fire extinguisher, a collapsible shovel and water. These tools can help extinguish a wildfire and safely dispose of hot debris.

FIRE BAN IN EFFECT

The fire ban in the Forest Protection Area still applies at this time. The majority of spring wildfires are caused by humans, most are due to campfires and unsafe fires by residents. Less than one per cent of human-caused wildfires are caused by OHV use. The province is trying to eliminate as many potential human-caused wildfires as possible at this time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic response, and the possibility of reduced firefighter availability.

Fire permits are suspended or cancelled. Some allowances can be made for essential agricultural and industrial burning, but will need to be approved by a forest officer.

Prohibited

  • outdoor wood fires on public lands, private land and provincial campgrounds
  • backyard fire pits (in the Forest Protection area)
  • barbeques that use charcoal briquettes
  • fireworks and exploding targets

Allowed

  • portable propane fire pits
  • propane/natural gas powered appliances
  • open flame CSA approved oil devices
  • indoor wood fires inside a structure (such as a facility, building, tent or RV) and contained within a device with a chimney and spark arrestor

** All devices must be CSA approved and used as per manufacturer standards. Users are still responsible for care and attendance of all devices and should reduce their use during fire restrictions and bans. Approved activities or devices will not prevent potential prosecution or litigation if the user or device starts a wildfire.

For more information, visit www.albertafirebans.ca.


For more information, please contact: 

Lynn Daina, Wildfire Information Officer, Fort McMurray Forest Area

Phone: 1-780-799-9253 or 1-866-394-3473

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