May 17, 2018 11:50 am
Updated: May 18, 2018 2:09 pm

Edmonton fire ban issued due to hot, dry, windy conditions

WATCH ABOVE: If you're sticking around Edmonton this may long weekend, your plans shouldn't include a backyard fire. As Julia Wong reports, a fire ban was issued for the city because of hot and dry conditions.

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A fire ban was issued for Edmonton on Thursday morning because of prolonged dry, hot and windy conditions.

The ban came into effect at 10 a.m. Thursday and will last until further notice.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the ban prohibits open burning, fireworks, backyard fire pits, cooking stoves and barbecues that use fuels such as wood and briquettes.

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Gas and propane barbecues are still permitted during the fire ban, provided they are properly located and supervised.

READ MORE: A list of bans and advisories across Alberta

The decision to implement the ban ahead of the May long weekend was based on the Fire Weather Index, which monitors temperature, wind conditions, humidity and precipitation levels.

Edmonton fire said although there has been some precipitation this week, the amount hasn’t been enough to improve conditions. Conditions will be reassessed every day.

Anyone who doesn’t comply with the ban could be fined.

READ MORE: 2 wildfires northeast of Edmonton being held

So far this month, Edmonton firefighters have been called to 162 grass fires, fire pit complaints and brush fires. While that’s an average number of calls for this time of year, the fire department said they want to stress the fact that conditions are ripe for a blaze.

“The risk of a fire starting is significant and spreading a lot more quickly,” acting fire chief Bryan Singleton with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said.

“The risk of (a fire) starting and spreading is much higher than normal. It’s going to take a few days of significant rain before we’re able to lift the ban.”

The fire department encourages anyone who sees someone breaking the ban to politely ask them to stop what they’re doing. If their behaviour continues, call 911.

A number of communities and counties in the province have fire bans in place, particularly in the central and eastern parts of Alberta.

Last weekend, fire crews started battling two wildfires northeast of Edmonton — one in Strathcona County and one in Lamont County.

The situation stabilized on Tuesday when crews said the fires were being held.

On Wednesday, Strathcona County Emergency Services said one of the fires in the northern part of the county was being held, but crews were seeing flare-ups in the afternoon because of wind.

A fire ban was also issued for Strathcona County early Thursday afternoon.

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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