Wildfire season officially began on March 1 in Alberta, which is one month earlier than other areas.
The season runs until October 31 and research is showing wildfires starting earlier and lasting longer. An early fire season also means the province’s firefighters are trained and positioned throughout Alberta sooner.
In a news release, the government stated that almost all spring wildfires are caused by human activity and are completely preventable. Often started by an out-of-control campfire or spark from an off-highway vehilcle. Dead and dry grass, twigs, leaves and branches then provide fuel for fast moving grassfires.
“More than 70 per cent of Alberta wildfires last year were caused by humans and the McMillan wildfire near Slave Lake was started by arson. We will continue to promote prevention, provide adequate funding and improvements to forest management,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
As of March 1 (and throughout wildfire season) fire permits are required for any burning, except campfires in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. Permits are free and you can request one from any Agriculture and Forestry office.
The public should note, while arson is a criminal offence, any unsafe fire-related behaviours can also lead to fines or charges for those involved.