EDMONTON – Alberta is bracing for another early forest-fire season by readying crews in advance.
Like last year, wildfire crews will be on duty starting March 1 instead of April 1.
Starting the season early when conditions are dry was a recommendation in the review into the May 2011 wildfires that ravaged the Slave Lake area.
The flames destroyed hundreds of homes, forced thousands from the community and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage, firefighting and relief costs.
Wildfires last year in Alberta burned 3,750 square kilometres of timber – about 1.5 times more than the five-year average.
Alberta Environment says last year nearly 80 per cent of wildfires were caused by people, compared to the usual average of about 60 per cent.