Late Thursday afternoon, the province has announced it is putting in place a province-wide fire ban, effective immediately.
All fire permits are suspended and no new fire permits will be issued. All open fires, including campfires and charcoal briquettes are prohibited.
The use of incendiary targets is also banned. These targets explode when shot with a firearm and have known to create fires.
In addition, the province is urging the public to avoid Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) use as much as possible. If they must be used, remove burnable debris from hot spots. All OHVs in Alberta are required to have a functional muffler and spark arresters.
“Albertans stand with the people of Fort McMurray who have been evacuated and our first responders as they work to protect Albertans and critical infrastructure. The single best thing we all can do to help protect Alberta from wildfires is to ensure we are not creating additional risk,” said Shannon Phillips, minister of environment and parks.
Environment and Parks will be deploying additional conservation officers to enforce the fire ban in parks and protected areas. This will not affect resources that are being used to fight wildfires.
Portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and barbecues designed for cooking or heating are allowed.
The fire ban applies to Alberta’s Forest Protection Area and all counties, municipal districts, and special areas such as provincial parks and recreation areas. The fire ban does not apply to cities, towns, villages, or summer villages or federal lands, such as national parks.
“Our firefighters are currently focused on fighting wildfires across the province, including the estimated 85,000-hectare fire near Fort McMurray. With extreme fire hazard conditions persisting, it is prudent that we take these steps to help reduce the risk of additional fires,” said Oneil Carlier, minister of agriculture and forestry.
When Albertans are out this weekend, they are encouraged to take additional steps to reduce their impact on potential wildfires on public land:
Check Alberta Fire Bans before going out and follow all instructions.
-If camping, do not leave cooking stoves or lanterns unattended.
-Avoid OHV as much as possible.
-Do not throw out lit cigarettes.