The 2016 Alberta wildfire season will officially start on March 1st for 2016. An early start to the wildfire season ensures firefighters are recruited, trained and positioned to respond quickly to any wildfires that happen in the early spring.
Barry Shellian, a Wildfire Information Officer for the Rocky Forest area, tells us in this Podcast that there have already been winter fires due to low snow fall and dry fall conditions.
Feature Podcast Interview
Do your part to prevent wildfires this spring. Although it's cold and there is snow on the ground, the mild and dry winter conditions are favorable for holdover fires from last year. A fire left smoldering can burn under the snow all winter long emerging as a wildfire in the spring. Be sure to extinguish your winter campfires. Soak it with water, stir it up and soak it again. The ashes should be cool to the touch.
Go back and check your ashes to ensure they are extinguished. When checking your brush piles, spread around any remaining debris so you can probe the area for hotspots. Use your bare hand to feel for heat over the ash piles. If you see smoke or feel any heat, the fire is still burning beneath the surface. Douse any remaining hot spots with water and stir up the ashes. A fire is not completely extinguished until there is absolutely no heat emanating from the ashes.
Beginning March 1st, all burning activities in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area, excluding campfires, will require a fire permit. Fire permits are free and available at your local Agriculture and Forestry office.