It was a calmer wildfire season in Grande Prairie this year. That’s what Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke says. This year, there were 42 fires in the area. Seven were lightning strikes and 35 were human caused.
Burke says that because the season was slower firefighters were able to offer help to other provinces dealing with fires.
“Thanks to the calmer wildfire season we had here in Alberta, we were able to really step up and help out with extreme wildfires in BC and in Ontario…Here at home we had 42 wildfires in the Grande Prairie Forest Area with a total of 20 hectares burned.”
Wildfire season runs from March 1st to October 31st. That’s when the risks are higher because of the warmer weather and dry conditions. Last year, there were 50 fires in total. Forty-two of those were caused by people doing things like agricultural burning or having campfires.
Even though the season officially ended on Wednesday, Burke still says there’s a chance one could start, especially in places north of the city up to Peace River.
“North of Grande Prairie the ground is still very dry. In those situations ground fires are likely so if you’re having a fire throughout the winter, doing any agricultural burning or even a cooking or warming fire…you want to make sure you put your fire out because a fire can burn into the ground and smolder throughout the winter.”
Burke says some other tips to reduce the risk during the off season include making sure it’s not too windy so the smoke doesn’t travel and making sure to check old burn sites so they don’t reignite.