Thank you Alberta Parks Volunteers!

The Alberta Parks Volunteer Conference brought together a sampling of the dedicated people who happily greet guests, help maintain parks, conduct science, coordinate special events, and so much more in our vast provincial parks system.

Held in Wetaskiwin September 25-27, attendees were provided a three-day conference that included a full slate of activities and events, including celebrating the history of Alberta Parks at Reynolds-Alberta Museum during Alberta Culture Days, an archaeology tour of Calhoun Bay Provincial Recreation Area, exploring expansion opportunities at Peaceful Valley Provincial Recreation Area and Day Use Lodge, and learning about lake and fisheries management at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park along with yurt camping and traditional First Nations use of the animals and fish that exist in the area. Continue reading

Alberta Wildland Firefighting Adventures – Ending Fire Season on a High Note

The Edson Unit Crew just wrapped up our most memorable experience of the fire season where we went down to Idaho to assist with the wildfires burning in the state. It was definitely the highlight! After having our southern neighbours up earlier this summer to help with Alberta’s wildfires it was great to return the favour. Continue reading

These Species at Risk May Flora You

Many of us are familiar with Alberta’s species at risk – from the peregrine falcon to the whooping crane, the swift fox to the woodland caribou and more. These animals are often featured in news stories, school curriculums and more.

But species at risk aren’t just animals. In Alberta, there are 10 plant species that are at risk – plants like the endangered Porsild’s byrum, seen here – in Alberta, this moss can only be found in the Rocky Mountains. This moss and other mosses like it, play a key role in our ecosystem. Continue reading

Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – Saying Goodbye to Rappel Firefighter Jamie

As the temperature starts to drop and the leaves start to change colour, the wildfire season comes to a close for me. I always feel mixed emotions as the fire season ends. While I am excited to see what winter will bring – to see friends and family again, and to unpack the bag I have been living out of for the past eight months – there are many things I will miss about this season. I will miss rappelling, working with helicopters, fighting wildfires and traveling, but the one thing I will miss most are the interactions with my crewmates and coworkers.

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Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – Saying Goodbye to Your Boy Troy

The Alberta wildfire season is quickly nearing its end and has left me with many things to think about. Not just a reflection of the season itself, which was awesome, but an opportunity to look to the future. Continue reading

Alberta’s Hazy, Crazy Fire Season Isn’t Over Yet!

Smoke from wildfires in Washington drift into the capital region – August 27, 2017

Smoke from wildfires in Washington drift into the capital region – August 27, 2017

Wildfire smoke seemed like a permanent fixture in Alberta this summer. In May, smoke from wildfires in the province impacted communities and industry. In July, a mix of wildfire smoke from British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and wildfires right here in Alberta covered most of the province. Again in August, wildfires in Washington smoked out south and central parts of Alberta. From highway closures to health concerns, Albertans have been feeling the impacts from wildfire smoke. You can track smoke forecasts here.

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Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – Three things wildland firefighters do when not on the fireline

This fire season has been extremely busy across the province for Alberta wildland firefighters, but what do we do when there is little to no fire activity in Alberta?

If there is limited fire activity in Alberta3F6A0624-2 we can be exported to provinces and countries experiencing significant fire activity. Likewise they share firefighters with Alberta when needed, which we witnessed earlier this season. Within the past month, the wildfire hazard and fire activity across Alberta has decreased allowing the province to send wildland firefighters to Northwest Territories and the United States assisting in both Idaho and Montana. I have never been on an export out of the province but for the lucky few it is an unforgettable experience. Continue reading

Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – A Ring of Fire

Troy 2Sometimes with a job like this it’s hard to find love. I can see why that is. It’s about finding that one person who understands that you’re gone, and have to split time with your crew.  Well this blog isn’t about me, but about the woman that loves me – job and all. Let me give you a bit of background on our relationship.

Scarlett and I have been married for about a year now and have been together a total of six years.  Time flies when you’re having fun! We’ve had our troubles like other couples, but she puts up with me and supported me when I decided to make wildland fighting my career about five years ago. I’m sure you’re wondering how she puts up with me and my crazy job…who better to tell you than my wife herself?

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Look Out Aquatic Invasives…There are New Dogs in Town!

Aquatic invasive species, including zebra and quagga mussels, are serious threats to Alberta’s waterways. The province is so committed to keeping Alberta mussel-free that mussel-sniffing dogs are now a permanent addition to the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program.

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Alberta Wildland Firefighter Adventures – One Busy Summer!

Erica & Glen waiting for helicopter pick up after a long day on the fireline!

Ryan and Devon waiting for a ride too!

Ryan and Devon waiting for a ride too!

As I write this blog entry from the truck en route to the High Level wildfire management area, I am realizing it is August…wow where did this summer go! The last month has been a busy one for the Edson Unit Crew. Last shift was spent working three wildfires in the Edson wildfire management area (EWMA) then working the end of our shift on a wildfire in the Grande Prairie wildfire management area. A total of four wildfires! It was a pretty exciting shift and we got to do a wide range of wildland firefighting work.

Our first two wildfires in our home area of Edson were approximately 150 hectares in size. Terrain was challenging at times and it didn’t help that we had to carry and shuffle gear through the rolling hills of the EWMA! Continue reading