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Friday , 27 May 2022
An aerial picture of the Moose Lake wildfire in 2019, which would be a situation this app would alert residents of: M.D. of Bonnyville.

BFRA ready for 2022 wildfire season

Wildland firefighters and equipment have been deployed across the province in preparation for the upcoming wildfire season and the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) is ready for what the season will bring.

The legislated wildfire season runs from March 1 to Oct. 31 in Alberta.

“Our priority is keeping Albertans and our communities safe. We continue to explore new technology and innovative wildland firefighting programs to evaluate what we need in Alberta’s wildfire management tool kit,” Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development said. “We’re ready for whatever this summer throws at us.”

Human-caused wildfires

Nearly all spring wildfires are human-caused.

The wildfire hazard is highest in the spring when fuels like trees and grass can be extremely dry and flammable after the snow has melted.

During the 2021 wildfire season, 1,308 wildfires burned a total of 52,955 hectares in the FPA. More than 60 per cent of 2021 wildfires last year were human-caused.

Everyone plays an active role in preventing wildfires and the BRFA is ready for the upcoming season.

“Wildfire season is one of many seasons we prepare for every year,” Dan Heney Regional Fire Chief of the BRFA said. “All but the newest of our members receive training in how to respond to wildfires and stay safe while doing it. There is practical level training and then certification level training for those who want to go that route.”

Regional Fire Chief Heney says, each year, just prior to the season, they go through all of their gear to ensure its ready to go when the season breaks.

“We watch snow load and the seasonal snow melt carefully, and reach out to our rural members to keep us apprised of the how quickly the melt is happening,” Regional Fire Chief Heney said. “As about half of the MD of Bonnyville is within the Forest Protection Area (FPA), we pay attention to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s updates prior to the season and throughout the season, modelling our risk status to match theirs.”

Whether it’s an abandoned campfire, off-highway vehicle (OHV) exhaust or agricultural burning, Lakelanders should use caution outdoors to help reduce the number of preventable wildfires.

Fire permits are free and are required during wildfire season for activities like residential, industrial or agricultural debris burning within the Forest Protection Area (FPA). Those living or operating a business within the FPA can call their local forest area office for a fire permit. Those outside the FPA can contact their local municipality to ask about fire permit requirements.

For up-to-date information on fire restrictions, fire bans and OHV restrictions is available at albertafirebans.ca or by calling 1-866-FYI-FIRE (1-866-394-3473). To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (310-3473) toll-free, from anywhere in Alberta.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.