You temporarily won’t be able to start a fire or use your off-highway-vehicle in the wooded areas across the region.
Starting on Wednesday, a provincial-wide fire ban and OHV restriction are being invoked to ensure provincial resources being used to fight COVID-19 aren’t stretched even more.
The fire ban will impact permits issued for Alberta’s Forest Protection Area which covers around 60 per cent of the province.
Indigenous peoples, first responders, and companies that use the OHV’s for work won’t be impacted, while anyone can continue to use their vehicle on private lands.
This time of year is usually the worst time for wildfires as fuel like trees and grasses have extremely low moisture content after the snow has melted.
“This spring, we may find ourselves facing multiple disasters at once,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, in a release.
“With Alberta’s wildfire season matching with the expected peak of COVID-19, we have to take extra precautions to ensure our response efforts are well-funded and planned out.”
The province is also doubling the fines for people who don’t follow these measures.
People who don’t follow the fire ban will now be ticketed $600, while those caught using an OHV will be fined $1,200.
Meanwhile, the GoA is hiring 200 more firefighters to assist with the wildfire suppression this season. Over 800 seasonal firefighters will join the year-round staff at Alberta Wildfire.
Up to $20 million is also being allocated to support vegetation management across Alberta.
“With all these measures, we will be prepared,” added Dreeshen.