Tips to have fun and stay safe in Alberta’s great outdoors

While the great outdoors are beautiful and fun, they can also be dangerous. Here’s some tips to keep you safe this summer.

Be the wildfire solution – not the problem

80% of Alberta’s wildfires are caused by people.  Embers from cigarettes, campfires, burn barrels, off-highway vehicles, and other man-made sources can all spark a wildfire.

Whether visiting a provincial park or exploring the backcountry, follow these tips to minimize the risk of starting a wildfire:

  • Never leave your campfire unattended.
  • Completely extinguished your campfire before you leave – soak it, stir the ashes, and soak it again.
  • Always use a designated fire pit in provincial parks.
  • Dispose of cigarette butts properly.
  • Ensure your off-highway vehicle has a working muffler and spark arresters and that ‘hot spots’ are kept free of debris.


Check for fire bans in your area or provincial park before you head out. When conditions raise the wildfire risk, campfires and fireworks may be prohibited in some areas.

Get a fireworks permit. Permits for any burning activity except campfires are required in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area. Permits are free at any ESRD area office.

Download ESRD’s free Wildfire app to find out, in real time, where wildfires are burning and how they can impact you.

Call 310-FIRE to report a wildfire.

Be Bear Smart while Camping

Bears have started to come out of hibernation. Follow these basic BearSmart camping steps to avoid them:

  • Store food out of reach of bears, preferably in airtight containers in your vehicle – never in your tent. Don’t bury or burn food scraps.
  • Don’t litter – put all garbage in suitable containers or pack it out with you.
  • At night, move around your campsite cautiously and use a flashlight.
  • Keep young children and pets close to you – if you have a dog, keep it on a lease or in your vehicle.
  • Keep a can of bear ‘pepper’ spray handy and know how to use it.

For more information, check out our Bear Smart program tools or these tips for hiking in bear country.

Keep your distance while wildlife watching

We tend to think of bears when it comes to dangerous animals – but many species will react defensively if threatened or provoked.

  • Keep a respectful distance from wildlife, and avoid sudden or startling movements.
  • Make noise when entering a new area to avoid sudden encounters with predators.
  • Make sure you can see and hear clearly at all times.

Use these additional tips to protect yourself in areas frequented by large predators like cougars.


4 thoughts on “Tips to have fun and stay safe in Alberta’s great outdoors

  1. I would like to subscribe to your RSS feed but get an XML file with no style associated to it when I click on the link in the bottom right corner of the page…

    • I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the RSS, I’ll look into it. In the meantime, there’s also the ability to follow/subscribe via email. That option is located under the “recent posts” box on the right hand side, closer to the top of the page.

  2. Pingback: Scary story time: over 800 of Alberta’s summer wildfires were caused by humans this year | Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

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