News / Edmonton

Low snow heightens Alberta fire risk

Spring rains will be the biggest factor in determining the severity of this year’s fire season, say firefighters.

Supplied.

As firefighters across the province report to work for the start of forest-fire season, the province is warning of an increased risk of human-started fires.

Fire communication officer Leah Lovequist says spring rains will be the biggest factor in determining the severity of this year’s fire season, but said the lack of snow means more risk for spring fires.

“Low snow means large areas of dead, dry grass, and these areas will be extremely flammable,” she said, adding the majority of fires in the spring are started by humans.

Lovequist said the number one way people start accidental forest fires is by leaving camp fires or garbage fires unattended.

“It is unacceptable that over the past five years, more than two thirds of all the wildfires in Alberta were caused by people," said Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carter, in a release.

“We have to be more vigilant in protecting our valuable forestry resource and keeping our firefighters from being placed in harm’s way.”

Last year wildfires in the province consumed nearly 492,000 hectares, an area seven times the size of Edmonton, and more than double the annual average for the last 25 years.

Metro Savers