Temperatures are cooler and some snow did fall in northern areas. The wildfire danger remains HIGH for areas around and south of Lesser Slave Lake. For the northern and western areas that received snow the wildfire danger is MODERATE.
Dead grass is a fine fire fuel. Any moisture that fell on the dead grass will dry up quickly with sun and warm temperatures.Firefighters urge everyone to continue to use caution in areas with dead grass, When the dead grass is dry it will ignite easily and a wildfire will spread quickly. Report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE (3743).
Fire lookouts are on alert constantly watching for smoke and firefighters in helicopters and airtankers are ready to respond to any new wildfires that may start.
The forecast for today is calling for a high of 7 degrees and winds from the northwest up to 15 kilometres per hour.
Wildfire Update - May 14, 2020
Two new wildfires were detected yesterday afternoon in the Slave Lake Forest Area. Both have been extinguished. This season we have seen several vehicle caused grass fires. When heading out this long weekend please ensure that your vehicle is in good mechanical condition and walk around vehicle and trailer to ensure chains are properly attached.
Since March 1 in the Slave Lake Forest Area, there have been 19 wildfires which have burned a total of 3.67 hectares.
The McMillan Wildfire which occurred during the 2019 wildfire season, remains under control and will be infrared scanned this spring.
Since March 1 in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta, there have been 156 wildfires burning a total of 93.13 hectares.
For more information on the current wildfire situation across the province of Alberta, visit wildfirestatus.alberta.ca.
Firefighters burning grass
Over the next several weeks, firefighters will be burning areas of dry grass in and around many communities in the Slave Lake Forest Area. These burns are conducted by trained firefighters and under specific conditions to ensure they are controlled and to minimize smoke. Spring grass burning lessens the risk of human–caused fires and helps protect homes and communities from future wildfires.
If you have any questions please call Wildfire Information Officer Leah Lovequist 780-849-0945.
Implementing a fire ban and OHV restriction is part of a number of actions the department has introduced to help mitigate wildfire risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking action in advance to reduce the number of human-caused wildfires will allow Alberta Wildfire to make the best possible use of resources when the availability of firefighters could be reduced because of the pandemic.
Firefighters appreciate your cooperation with these measures and your efforts to prevent human-caused wildfires.
Off-Highway vehicle restriction in effect
An OHV restriction is in effect within the Forest Protection Area (FPA) of Alberta in the High Level Forest Area, Peace River Forest Area, the northwestern portion of the Slave Lake Forest Area and the rural areas surrounding Fort McMurray.
What is an OHV
An “off-highway vehicle” is a motorized vehicle designed to go beyond defined roadways, including but not limited to:quads, side by sides, dirt bikes, 4x4 jeeps, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles and snowmobiles.
The recreational use of OHVs on public lands, including designated OHV trails.
Exceptions to the OHV restriction
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 permitted on private lands.
An off-highway vehicle restriction exemption is also in place for those licenced for the spring black bear hunt.
If you plan to go off-road in areas where OHV use is allowed keep in mind:
An off-highway vehicle’s exhaust 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 off-highway vehicles for debris 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
There is a fire ban in effect for the Forest Protection Area of Alberta, as well as in Alberta provincial parks and protected areas, until further notice.
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.
• wood campfires on public lands
• wood campfires on private land and provincial campgrounds
• backyard firepits
• barbeques with charcoal briquettes
• propane / natural gas powered appliances
• open flame CSA approved oil devices
• wood fires in an enclosed facility or device, which have a chimney with a spark arrestor
** All devices must be CSA approved and used as per manufacturer standards. An enclosed facility or device is one that is fully contained with a chimney that has a spark arrestor. 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 regarding the Fire Ban and OHV Restriction, please contact:
Visit AlbertaFireBans.ca for a map of the affected areas.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is the wildfire authority (under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act) in the FPA of Alberta. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry manages and responds to all wildfires in this area and is responsible for issuing permits and putting on fire bans.
Even if they are within the FPA, any city, town, village or summer village has the authority to put on their own fire ban, restriction or advisory as they are outside Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s jurisdiction.
Town of Slave Lake has no restrictions or bans in place.
Town of High Prairie has a fire restriction in place. Visit albertafirebans.ca for information.
Big Lakes County has a fire ban in place for the white zone of their municipality. Visit albertafirebans.ca for information.
Unless conditions change you can expect your next wildfire update on May15th.
If you have any questions please contact:
Wildfire Information Officer
- Alberta Wildfire
- Alberta Fire Bans
- FireSmart in Alberta
- Alberta Emergency Alerts
- Air Quality Health Index
- Wildfire Smoke and Your Health
- 511 Road Reports
- Emergency Preparation