Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – “Golden Wildfire”

IMG_2421Occasionally a wildland firefighter works a wildfire that is unlike any other. Many wildfires are unforgettable for many different reasons to each firefighter, but there is always one that stands out among the rest. I call that the “Golden Wildfire.” Usually these wildfires are so big and powerful that they are nearly impossible to contain. Within this last month I was fortunate enough to experience my “Golden Wildfire.”

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Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – It’s a bird, it’s a plane…wait…it’s your boy Troy!

hooking up the bucket 2Boom! After three quick days off, the boys and I were back at it again.  I suspected that my crew would be returning to the Peace River area but no matter where we go we are excited for the export. Driving up, we heard a lot on the radio about the wildfires in High Level, Alberta and La Ronge, Saskatchewan to name a few – the high need for trained wildland firefighters sure pumps us up for every shift! So far this year, Alberta has had over 1,400 wildfires. That’s almost more than we had all of last year and it’s only July. Don’t worry; we firefighters have put an ‘E’, extinguishment, on over 1,300 of them.

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You must be mis-snaken!

It’s a bad guy in many literary references. It’s Indiana Jones’ worst nightmare. It represents temptation, chaos and cunning. Today – on World Snake Day – we want to try to smooth out the snake’s reputation and tip the scales in his favour!

Prairie rattlesnake

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Having fun naturally – Parks Day celebrations

AEP-Twitter-Infographics-DinosaurParks-ChooseParks Day is July 18 and Alberta’s provincial parks are alive with all kinds of activities.

Games, food, displays, crafts, water activities, tours, treasure hunts, contests, special entertainment and even water bomber demonstrations are just some of the festivities scheduled at Alberta’s parks throughout the weekend of July 18 and 19.

WOS 2007 Parks Day 166While provincial parks generally see close to half a million people taking part in programs each year, it’s anticipated that Parks Day will draw upwards of 10,000 visitors to parks across Alberta.

With a provincial park or protected area within an hour of almost every community in Alberta, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy. Here is just a little of what to look forward to across Alberta:

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I Can’t Believe I Get Paid To Do This

Story by Brian Orr – Interpretation and Outreach Programmer at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park

Imagine having one of those jobs where you say to yourself: I can’t believe I get paid to do this.

Well, I don’t have to imagine, for me it’s a reality. Besides having a provincial park as my backyard, being a park interpreter is the best job I could ever hope for. Every morning as I get ready for the day, I become more and more excited. Today, I’m leading two separate environmental education programs – one on invertebrates (insects, spiders and such) and another on wetland ecology.

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Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – Set the Bar High

group shot

As many as you know, this wildfire season has been very, very busy. There have been more than 1,300 wildfires in Alberta alone since April 1, but firefighters have put out over 1,200 of them. Everyone across the province has been working extremely hard – from the wildfire crews and aircraft working in the field to the many people behind the scenes: radio operators, warehouse staff, logistics and the lookout towers, just to name a few. It couldn’t be done without everyone’s dedicated efforts! I’m very proud to be a part of the Alberta Wildfire Management Team and the amount of work we have accomplished to date.

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Introducing Alberta Parks’ online store!

What’s in store this summer for Alberta Parks? Well, lots, with the launch of our new online store.

picnic cooler

picnic cooler

In conjunction with Service Alberta’s MyAlberta eServices (eservices.alberta.ca) – a new e-commerce website you can use from a computer or mobile device to securely pay for government services in one convenient location – Alberta Parks is rolling out the goods.

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Some sheepish Albertans make a home in South Dakota

It’s Canada Day and an opportunity to share with the rest of the world some of the wonderful things that are Canadian and better yet, Albertan!

Our bighorn sheep, while not exclusively Canadian, are a symbol of our strength and longevity. They are our province’s official mammal and an appropriate symbol for our rugged landscape, robust population and rich, natural history.

Early this year, 25 of these bighorn sheep from reclaimed coal mines in the Cadomin area were captured and took a trip to their new home in South Dakota. The effort will help conserve the sheep population in South Dakota.

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Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – From the fireline: At the Pony Creek wildfire

It’s 4:45 am. I roll over and shut off the sound of marimba playing from my iPhone. I struggle to open my eyes while contemplating taking another five minutes of sleep. I open and close my eyes again; a slight stinging sensation covers my eyelids as I press them together. My mind kicks into gear and pulls my body into an upright position. I force myself to dress and prepare for another day on the fireline.

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Alberta’s Amazing Amphibians

Summer has officially started! Our amphibian friends are doing their best to keep cool and babies will be making their way from water to land later in the summer.

While summer is a time of relaxation and fun, many amphibian species in the world are facing an alarming decline in their numbers. To understand what is happening within populations, we need to study and monitor to establish if populations are stable or declining.

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