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Total number of fires up as 2020 wildfire season comes to a close

The 2020 wildfire season is now officially over, with the total number of wildfires in the Grande Prairie Forest Area slightly up from 2019.

Since March 1st, there have been 48 wildfires in the Grande Prairie Forest Area, burning a total of 46 hectares. However, as Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke suggests, the story could have been a lot different if not for a number of factors.

“We saw a lot of rainfall in June and cooler temperatures throughout the summer months, so most of the province saw a lower fire danger throughout the summer.”

“We had a fire ban during May, which is one of our highest wildfire danger times, and I think that really helped lower the wildfire numbers.”

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Burke says the percentage of those fires caused by humans is trending the other way, with 71 percent of regional wildfires deemed to be caused by people, down from 80 percent the last couple of years. She adds awareness will always remain a major key when it comes to wildfire safety, which includes knowing what the danger is, and mitigating the risks.

“I think a lot of people think it just won’t happen to them, until you’ve started a wildfire, or have been evacuated from a wildfire, you don’t really know the risks until you see how fast a wildfire can burn.”

She is also reminding anyone who may do a controlled burn this fall before the snow came, to revisit those sites during the winter to check for any hot spots.

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