News / Edmonton

Alberta braces for another wildfire season, a year after Fort McMurray

Still reeling from the Fort McMurray blaze, province gears up for the next wildfire season starting March 1.

The "merciless" wildfire that destroyed a significant chunk of Fort McMurray has been voted 2016's top news story by The Canadian Press. The province is getting ready for a new wildfire season.

Kevin Tuong/For Metro

The "merciless" wildfire that destroyed a significant chunk of Fort McMurray has been voted 2016's top news story by The Canadian Press. The province is getting ready for a new wildfire season.

Less than a year removed from Fort McMurray’s “beast”, Alberta is bracing itself for another wildfire season.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry released a statement Wednesday reminding residents that March 1 marks the beginning of this year’s wildfire season.

New penalties are in place this year under changes to the Forest and Prairie Protection Act but Minister Oneil Carlier still warns people to be vigilant.

“The wildfire that burned into Fort McMurray last year serves as a reminder of how important it is for us to be ready to respond to wildfires at a moment’s notice,” Carlier said in a statement.

Last year, 1,338 wildfires burned more than 611,000 hectares throughout the province.

That includes the Horse River wildfire (dubbed “The Beast”), which swept into Fort McMurray last May, destroyed thousands of homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 people.

It is believed that fire – like 60 per cent of all wildfires – was human-caused.

-with files from The Canadian Press

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