Fort McMurray Area Update

Fort McMurray Forest Area Wildfire Update - July 15, 2021

Posted on Thu, Jul 15, 2021

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The wildfire danger in the Fort McMurray Forest Area is EXTREME around Fort McMurray, and VERY HIGH in the Fort Chipewyan/Fort Smith area. A fire restriction remains in place. Extreme fire behaviour involves one or more characteristics: high rate of spread and head fire intensity, crowing and spotting. This behaviour makes fire suppression more challenging for wildland fire fighters and air operations.

WILDFIRE UPDATE

There are currently 44 active wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area (FMFA). Lightning starts are the cause of the majority of these wildfires. Ten of our active wildfires are out of control, 24 are being held, nine are under control, and one has been turned over to the responsible party. Since March 1, there have been 82 wildfires in the FMFA that have burned 15,380.98 (ha). 

  • MWF-075 is under control at 1.91 ha. in size and is located 25 km southwest of Anzac.

There are three Complexes managing the bulk of these wildfires, Johnson, Martin and Muskeg.

Johnson Complex:

  • MWF-060 is out of control at 90.5 ha. in size and is located 8 km east of the Imperial Oil facility north of Fort McMurray. 

All other wildfires within the Johnson Complex are being held or are under control.

Martin Complex:

  • MWF-067 is out of control at 475 ha. in size. It is located three km south of Sunshine camp and 5 km away from the plant site, but has not crossed Dover Road.
  • MWF-069 is out of control at 44 ha. in size. It is located 85 km west of Fort McMurray.
  • MWF-080 is out of control at .05 ha. It is located 62 km northwest of Fort McMurray.
  • *SWF-099 is out of control at 40 ha. in size. It is located 29 km northwest of Chipewyan Lake.

All other wildfires within the Martin Complex are being held or are under control. 57 firefighters and  five helicopters are currently assigned to this complex. 

Muskeg Complex:

  • MWF-044 is out of control at 18.6 ha. It is located nine km east of Suncor Firebag.
  • MWF-057 is out of control at 50 hectares in size. It is located 31 km east of Fort McKay.
  • MWF-059 is out of control at 802 hectares in size. It is located 64 km southeast of Fort McKay.
  • MWF-077 is out of control at 30 ha. in size. It is located 9.5 km from Suncor Firebag.

All other wildfires within the Muskeg Complex are being held or are under control. 48 firefighters and six helicopters are currently assigned to this complex.

*SWF099 located 28 kilometres northeast of Chipewyan Lake is now being monitored by the Incident Management Team in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. The size of SWF099 will continue to increase over the next few days. Since this wildfire occurs in a zone where it does not threaten communities or resources it is allowed to burn onto the landscape naturally under the watchful eye of experienced fire managers. Using this wildfire management strategy has many benefits; it re-introduces fire onto the landscape, creates a break in the continuous fuels, reduces the intensity of the fire providing safety zones for our firefighting crews to work from and reduces the cost of fighting these wildfires.

If you have any questions regarding SWF099 please contact Fort McMurray Industry Liaison Mike Gadde 403-880-9296.

*Wildfire resources are allocated according to priorities including risk to human life, communities and infrastructure. Those wildfires with few or no resources assigned are regularly monitored for activity or signs of growth.

When airtankers are scooping water from surrounding lakes, you are required to stay within 30 metres of the shore. Your cooperation will help ensure your safety and that of our air crews.


PROVINCIAL WILDFIRE UPDATE as of 10 a.m. 

There are currently 89 wildfires in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta.  Fifteen of these wildfires are out of control, 29 are being held, 44 are under control and one has been turned over to the responsible party.

Since March 1 there have been 882 wildfires in the FPA, burning a total of 20,314.14 (ha). 

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


FIRE RESTRICTION

Under this restriction:

  • Existing fire permits are suspended;
  • All outdoor fires presently burning under permit must be extinguished, unless approved to continue by a Forest Officer;
  • Safe wood campfires within fire rings in campgrounds and backyard fire pits are allowed.

Prohibited:

  • Wood campfires on public land
  • Fireworks and exploding targets

Allowed:

  • Wood campfires on private land
  • Wood campfires within provincial campgrounds in a designated campfire ring
  • Backyard fire pits on private land
  • Charcoal briquette barbeques
  • Propane or natural gas fueled appliances
  • Indoor wood fires
  • Open flame oil devices

WEATHER FORECAST

An approaching cold front currently just east of the BC-AB border will continue to bring a high risk of light
to moderate, but mostly scattered rain and thunderstorms to the province this afternoon/evening. Crossover
conditions will continue to develop in most zones. SE-SW winds of 10-20 km/h with some gusts up to 35 km/h ahead of the front will shift to W-NW 15-20G35 km/h in the wake of the front in the northwest boreal.

Smoke forecasts can be found at firesmoke.ca

Remember to check the hot spots on your Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and remove debris before and after use.

Never leave a campfire unattended. Soak it, stir it and soak it again until cool to the touch to ensure it is extinguished. If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 310-FIRE. The fire restriction will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Extra caution must be used by recreationalists. Ensure your cooking and warming fires are out, and check your OHV for excess debris around the muffler. It can ignite and fall, causing a wildfire.

If you are found responsible for causing a wildfire, you can be charged with the cost of fighting that wildfire.


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TAKE THE PLEDGE 

Residents from the Fort McMurray area are invited to take the wildfire pledge and protect our forests.

Help prevent human-caused wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area (FMFA) by signing our wildfire pledge. By taking the pledge, your name will be automatically entered into a draw to win an educational helicopter tour.

The FMFA averages 25 human-caused wildfires per year. Over the last 10 years, these wildfires have cost the government nearly $19 million per year.

Let’s work together to reduce the number of human-caused wildfires in the FMFA. Commit to reducing human-caused wildfires today:

  • I will always use fire responsibly and safely in the FMFA.
  • I will fully extinguish my campfire by soaking it, stirring it and soaking it again.
  • I will stop and check my off-highway vehicle regularly for built-up debris while riding off-road.
  • I will report any smoke I see in the forested areas to 310-FIRE.
  • I will be an ambassador for fire safety when enjoying Alberta’s forested areas with friends and family.

Take the pledge


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DOWNLOAD THE NEW ALBERTA WILDFIRE APP

Download the Alberta Wildfire App to access provincial wildfire status maps and updates on your mobile device.

Apple

Android


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For more information, please contact: 

Lynn Daina, Information Officer, Fort McMurray

Phone: 780-799-9253 or the PROVINCIAL Information Officer 1-866-394-3473

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