Dry and windy conditions across Alberta have created ignition for wildfires and grassfires to blaze throughout the province, especially in northern Alberta.
“The bulk of them right at the moment are in the northwest corner of the province in High Level forest area, but we do have some in White Court, Slave Lake, Grand Prairie, Rocky Mountain House, Edson and Calgary forest areas,” Erin Davidson with Alberta Wildfire said.
“Most of the province has not seen a fairly significant amount of precipitation, and we do have very warm air temperatures, and lower relative humidity which is increasing the fire danger across the province.”
A fire north of Rocky Mountain House forced people to evacuate Friday afternoon but that evacuation order was lifted less than 24 hours later. Officials said the fire is now being held at 15 hectares.
“We still have crews and equipment on the wildfire, so we are still actively addressing it.”
Wildfire expert Mike Flannigan said Alberta is seeing a later start to its wildfire season because of a cool, wet May.
“Until things green up, you have a lot of dead grass and organic material in the forest floor, so it’s very fire-prone,” he said.
“We are still in the window of that spring fire-prone zone.”
Flannigan said it’s too difficult to predict how this year will be when it comes to the number of fires.
“Fire depends on the day to day weather, if it’s hot, dry and windy like we are seeing in parts of Alberta today, fires can spread.
“We can forecast about a week.”
Davidson said right now, many fires are human-caused but come July and August, Lightning is another contender. However, the hope is there is enough rain to prevent some fires from even starting over the next few months.