The wildfire danger in the Grande Prairie Forest Area has reached very high. Wildfire information officer Kelly Burke says the risk of a fire sparking in the area has increased due to warmer temperatures, high winds, and a lack of rain.

“We’ve had a few [wildfires]; not too many, but our snow hasn’t been gone that long, so we’re really expecting some fires with the abundant dry grass that’s available. We really want to encourage people to be very mindful.”

That includes checking on any winter burn piles that could be reignited by wind, and never leaving a campfire unattended.

“That means when you go to sleep, if you’re going to the next campsite, if you’re going to the lake you want to make sure that you completely extinguish your fire,” Burke explains. “Also, if you’re out on your OHV, on your quads over the long weekend, be very mindful of idling in the long grass and always keep checking your exhaust for debris.”

A fire advisory is currently in effect for the region, meaning no new burn permits are being issued. However, small and safe campfires are still allowed. Burke says she’s noticing residents are more aware of wildfires.

“With what’s been going on in the last couple of years in B.C., in Fort McMurray, in Slave Lake, we’ve seen people lose their homes and they see the real danger that wildfire can cause.”

There is some rain in the forecast for Grande Prairie, but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to reduce the local wildfire hazard. Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 310-FIRE to report it.