Alberta wildfire season wraps up with continuing dry conditions, potential for flare-ups

FILE. Firefighters putting out hot spots on the Chetamon wildfire in Jasper National Park Sept. 18, 2022. Courtesy: Parks Canada

Alberta’s wildfire season officially ended Monday, but the threat remains.

The province says in spite of recent snowfall, dry conditions continue and so does the potential for fires to start.

In 2022, a total of 1,254 wildfires burned about 153,124 hectares.

This is compared with the five-year average of 1,110 wildfires burning more than 190,000 hectares.

Just over half were caused by human activity over the past year, around 38 per cent were caused by lightning and roughly six per cent are still under investigation.

Read more: Jasper faces more than $10M loss in revenue due to Chetamon wildfire

“Diligence this summer resulted in a more than 10-per cent decrease in human-caused wildfires and we recorded fewer wildfires than the previous year overall,” said Todd Loewen, minister of Forestry, Parks and Tourism in a news release Thursday.

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“Wildfire staff work tirelessly keeping our forests safe and it’s great to see that their efforts have been supported by the public’s responsible behaviour. We’re not out of the woods yet, though – warm, dry fall conditions in some parts of the province mean that it’s still important for folks to stay alert to risks. Preventing wildfire is the duty of all Albertans.”

The province says it was able to help firefighters in other districts, sending crews to British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska and Washington, as well as supporting Parks Canada and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre with firefighters, overhead staff and aircraft.

The province says it also regularly explores new technological developments in wildfire prevention, suppression, smoke detection and communication and will review what worked this past season.

Crews spent much of September battling the Chetamon wildfire near Jasper, Alta.  The fire, which was sparked by lightning, damaged power lines and caused a power outage to Jasper for a couple of weeks. After being on intermittent generator power, ATCO was able to restore the transmission power system on Sept. 15.

There are several ways to stay informed about wildfires:

Currently, there are 32 fires burning in the province. Most are under control.

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