Another fire season has come to an end, bringing with it cooler temperatures, shorter days, and even the dreaded S-word: snow.
It might surprise you, but these things don’t mean wildfires won’t start. In fact, those crunchy leaves kids like to jump in? They’re perfect fuel for a wildfire, helping it to spread quickly through dry grass and autumn debris.
But that’s not to say you can’t enjoy the season! Have a campfire, burn yard debris, take your off-highway vehicle out for a ride — but don’t forget to be safe. Fully extinguish every campfire you have, keep water and firefighting equipment on hand for burning, and make sure your OHV hot spots are clean. These free and easy tricks can prevent a wildfire, even in the winter.
This year, people were responsible for 58 per cent of all wildfires—over 1,000 wildfires total. Lightning sparked the other 42 per cent for a total of 1,786 wildfires this season. While this percentage is slightly below last year, it’s on par with the five-year average, and the sheer number of wildfires is higher.
Each and every one of the human-caused wildfires was completely preventable. Our population is growing, and more and more people are living in towns that are bordered by forests.
Thousands of people camp, hike, fish, hunt and play in Alberta’s forests each year, and it is critical that we all do our part in protecting each other, protecting our communities and protecting our forests from human-caused wildfires.
Do your part by using some of these quick tips:
- Having a campfire? Never leave it unattended, whether you are going to bed or for a short walk. Make sure it’s out by soaking it, stirring the ashes and soaking it again.
- Clear dead grass, branches, leaves and yard debris from your property to reduce the potential for a wildfire to spread quickly on your property.
- Keep your OHV clean before and during your rides. Check the muffler, engine, wheel wells, even under your seat; any hot debris should be soaked with water before disposal.
- Keep firefighting tools on hand if you’re burning through the winter. In the spring, check the burn site for any lingering hot areas and soak them with water.
- During wildfire season, stay updated on wildfires by using the free Alberta Wildfire app for iOS and Android.
- Check for fire bans at AlbertaFireBans.ca and adhere to the restrictions.
- Lastly, and most importantly, report all wildfires toll free, all year round, to 310-FIRE (3473).