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Alberta downgrades fire ban due to ‘great work’ of wildfire crews, favourable weather

Alberta is not bringing back wildfire rappel crews, new firefighter hires will be ground support
WATCH ABOVE: (April 14, 2020) Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen said the province is not bringing back the program which saw firefighters rappel from helicopters directly into areas where wildfires have started, and instead will be hiring more ground crews.

Alberta has downgraded its fire ban to a fire advisory due to favourable weather.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen said in a tweet Tuesday that 243 fires have been extinguished by crews this spring.

The fire ban, which covered the Forest Protection Area, provincial parks and protected areas, was put into place in mid-April as a measure to slow the start of the wildfire season.

While some municipalities and specific parks still have bans in place, the majority of the province is now under the advisory.

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READ MORE: High Level launches online exhibit to mark 1 year since wildfire evacuations

Under an advisory, Albertans can participate in most recreational fires, including campfires, backyard fire pits and charcoal briquette barbecues.

Burning fires without a permit, and unattended and unsafe campfires are not allowed under the advisory.

Campfires do not need a permit. 

READ MORE: Alberta issues fire ban, OHV restrictions in Forest Protection Areas amid COVID-19 pandemic

Alberta’s wildfire season started on March 1, one month earlier than any other province. It typically peaks in late April or throughout May.

While the ban in the Forest Protection Area initially included off-road vehicle use, that ban was lifted on May 22 due to high precipitation in the province.

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Alberta Wildfire restrictions can be phased back in as officials monitor conditions daily.

Federal scientists have forecasted that Alberta could see a late fire season this year with an elevated threat of wildfires starting in June that could stretch into September.

READ MORE: Canada’s wildfire season expected to be ‘well above average’: Natural Resources Canada