Wildfire season has officially come to an end in Alberta. However that doesn’t mean that there is no risk with burning a fire outdoors especially as our region is still bare of snow. Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke says anything from welding sparks to brush burning has the potential to leave dry grass smoldering, insulated by snow through the winter.
“We just don’t want people to throw snow on it and assume it’ll go out. It may very well go out or it may snow lightly on top and that will insulate the fire and hold the fire until the spring when conditions are right and those winds come up again.”
Here in the Grande Prairie Wildfire Management area we had a relatively quiet season compared to our neighboring provinces. There were 85 wildfires sparked in total, burning roughly 223 hectares. Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke says other parts of the province were not so lucky either.
“This year we had all of our north on fire, some of the towns around Slave Lake were evacuated as well so it was a busy fire season, but not like what we saw in Saskatchewan, BC, and of course down in the United States this year it was terrible.”
Burke says even though we had a mild season this year, it is always a good idea to be prepared for the possibility of evacuation in the future.
“What we’re really wanting people to do is to get their 72 hour kit together and that way if you do have to evacuate you are ready to go and you’re not scared.”
Burke says fall is also an ideal time to do firesmart work around your home, clearing out any dead fall or flammable debris that could be a fire hazard when the next wildfire season rolls around.