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County to allow use of permitted, permanent recreational fire pits

Fires in permanent recreational fire pits are again allowed in the County of Grande Prairie. Its regional fire service updated the fire ban for the municipality Friday.

Only residents with permanent recreational fire pits and fire permits will be allowed to use them. Any that have been permitted in the last two years will be automatically renewed.

The County defines permanent recreational fire pits as those that are mounted in the ground surrounded by gravel and pavers or other non-combustible materials. County Fire Marshal Ken Atamanchuk says authorities will continue to evaluate the wildfire risk for the region and will adjust the fire ban with the safety of the public and emergency personnel in mind.

“We’re constantly monitoring the risk of wildfire to strike the right balance between recreation and safety, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means continually assessing activities to ensure they don’t pose any increased risks.”

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“It is absolutely critical during the COVID-19 pandemic that we reduce the possibility of another disaster that would put additional strain on not only fire resources but all emergency management,” he adds.

All existing burn permits have been revoked and no new ones will be issues. Among the burning not allowed are outdoor or open fires, other than permitted permanent recreational fire pits, burning barrels, fireworks, exploding targets, temporary fire pits, recreational off-highway vehicle use on public lands.

Gas barbecues and propane fire pits are allowed and the County will accept permit requests to burn crops for agricultural purposes. Breaking the fire ban could lead to a $5,000 find and charges for the cost of any emergency response.

The fire ban will remain in effect until conditions change. It applies to the entire County, the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith, and Wembley and the Village of Hythe

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