Alberta’s UCP government is trying to prevent as many human-caused wildfires as possible this season as provincial resources are already stretched due to COVID-19.
Starting Wednesday, April 15, there will be a fire ban in effect for Alberta’s Forest Protection Area, which covers almost 60 percent of the province, as well as provincial parks and other protected areas.
Recreational use of off-highway vehicles on Crown land within the Forest Protection Area will also be prohibited.
Agriculture and Forestry Minister, Devin Dreeshen says $5 million will also be used to hire and train 200 firefighters as the province can’t rely on outside help this year.
He says typically Alberta shares wildfire resources with other provinces and countries when it’s not their peak fire season, but with travel restrictions due to COVID-19 that will be difficult.
Dreeshen says implementing these measures now will ensure Alberta is ready to deal with the possibility of battling multiple disasters at once.
The ban does not include things like backyard fires or firepits on residential properties inside the City of Grande Prairie.