EDMONTON – For the first time this year, a full fire ban has been issued for parts of central Alberta.
Beaver County declared the ban Tuesday for the areas that surround Highway 14 extending southeast of Edmonton, including the towns of Tofield, Ryley, Holden and Viking.
This means “nothing with sparks,” Karyn Simmons, an emergency services administrator with Beaver County, explained.
For the duration of the ban, Simmons said no fire pits or burn barrels will be allowed on private properties, camp sites or in backcountry areas.
“Propane or natural gas barbeques… and other propane or natural gas appliances like deck heaters and propane lights are allowed,” Simmons said.
The ban also means all previously issued fire permits are now cancelled and no new ones will be issued. Simmons said all people with cancelled permits have been contacted.
Fire bans, restrictions and advisories are managed by individual counties in Alberta. In this case, the Beaver County ban is a full restriction on all fire activities, though in other counties, a ban could just limit certain activities.
“It is getting to be that time of year when we start to think about camping and outdoor recreational activities increase,” Laura Stewart, a wildfire information officer with Alberta Wildfire, said.
As each county assess their current wildfire risk, more restrictions could be added while others get lifted.
“Before heading out to have a camp fire, check albertafirebans.ca for the latest information on fire bans throughout the province,” Stewart said.
There is currently a fire advisory in place for Lamont County just east and northeast of Edmonton which means no more new fire permits will be issued for the time being.
Southern parts of the province are far more colourful on the fire bans map. A large area extending just south of Calgary towards the southeast corner of Alberta is currently under fire bans or restrictions due to the dry conditions.