Alberta ready as wildfire season starts March 1

The wildfire burning near Manning, Alberta, on May 30, 2019. Supplied to Global News

With spring right around the corner, the start of wildfire season in Alberta is even closer.

The season runs from March 1 to Oct. 31 and the province said Monday that wildland firefighters and equipment have been deployed across the province in preparation.

“Our priority is keeping Albertans and our communities safe,” Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development Nate Horner said in a news release.

“We continue to explore new technology and innovative wildland firefighting programs to evaluate what we need in Alberta’s wildfire management tool kit. We’re ready for whatever this summer throws at us.”

In the spring, nearly all wildfires are caused by humans, the province said, urging Albertans to be careful.

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“Whether it’s an abandoned campfire, off-highway vehicle (OHV) exhaust or agricultural burning, Albertans should use caution outdoors to help reduce the number of preventable wildfires,” the province said.

During wildfire season, fire permits are required for burning debris at residential, industrial or agricultural sites within the Forest Protection Area. Those permits are free and can be obtained from local forest area offices within those areas.

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Up-to-date information on fire restrictions, fire bans and OHV restrictions can be found online or by calling 1-866-FYI-FIRE (1-866-394-3473).

To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (310-3473) toll-free, from anywhere in Alberta.

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Last year’s wildfire season saw 1,308 wildfires burn a total of 52,955 hectares in the Forest Protection Area.

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