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Wildfire officials warn of early season dangers

As the snow melts across the Grande Prairie region a warning is out for the danger of starting a grass or wildfire by mistake if you are burning debris with a permit.

Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke says with the snow retreating, dry and dead grass will begin to get exposed, which can lead to big trouble if proper precautions aren’t taken when it comes to fire safety.

“Dry grass is a very volatile fire fuel, it ignites quickly, spreads rapidly and the flame length is long,” she says.

“A fire lit in the winter can burn underground, and if it’s not extinguished, it can reemerge this time of year… that’s when we see those fires start.”

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Burke says the weather was a big help last year, and when combined with COVID-19 restrictions, it may have lessened people’s burning habits and made everyone a little more aware of the potential dangers. However, she adds that 80 per cent of the 48 total fires in the Grande Prairie Forest Area were caused by people.

“We want to make sure that going into this season we have no human-caused fires, I know it’s a lofty goal, but if we all work together and take responsibility we could all diminish fires on the landscape,” she adds.

As of April 14th, the wildfire alert level for the Grande Prairie Forest Area remains low.

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