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Safety top priority for 2020 wildfire season

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With more than 40 wildfires reported in the Grande Prairie region in 2019, Alberta Wildfire is reminding residents of how they can keep themselves and their neighbours safe.

Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke says, as wildfire season kicked off March 1st, fire permits will be required for burning within the provincial Forest Protection Area, with a few exceptions.

“Permits are free and you can pick them up at any agriculture and forestry office, but it excludes campfires, so any cooking or warming fire you don’t need a permit for.”

Burke says checking all winter burn piles or even campfire sites over the winter can go a long way in helping to stop any potential flaring up in the spring.

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“We want you to go back as the snow melts and check these areas for heat, so you want to roll around the debris and if you see smoke, a flame, of course, or feel heat the fire is still burning, so you want to dig it up and pour water on it.”

For those in an urban environment, Burke suggests keeping at least a 10-metre buffer zone between the source of the fire and the home itself.

According to the Government of Alberta, 989 wildfires burned more than 883,411 hectares across the province during the 2019 wildfire season, of which 71 per cent were human-caused.

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