Province announces start of Wildfire Season

Alberta has declared an early start to this year’s wildfire season.

The fire season typically runs from March 1st to October 31st, but yesterday Minister of Forestry and Parks, Todd Loewen, announced that the season is starting immediately.

Burn permits are now required for anyone who plans on burning in the Alberta Forest Area. The Minister also says the early start allows Alberta Wildfire to begin getting personnel and assets in place to combat wildland fires.

Alberta has already hired 900 dedicated wildland firefighters for the upcoming season and plans to hire an additional 100 smoke-eaters in the coming months.

The Minister was joined at the press conference by Bernie Schmidt, Executive Director of Alberta’s Wildfire Management Branch. Schmidt noted the dry weather this year is causing concerns for Alberta Wildfire, and the government’s Weather and Predictive Services have been closely working with Environment and Climate Change Canada on long-range forecasts.

According to the weather modeling, the current El Nino pattern may break in June, bringing some relief to the ongoing drought conditions throughout Alberta and the Prairies.

Minister Loewen noted that there will be some changes to how the province manages wildfires this year. There will be increased nighttime fire suppression activities allowing units to take advantage of lower temperatures and more moderate fire behavior.

The province will also be proactive in issuing fire bans and restrictions on outdoor recreation when the fire hazard is high. Minister Loewen suggested Albertans download and follow the Alberta Wildfire app for up-to-date information. information on fires and any restrictions.

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