by Morinville News Staff

Wildfire season in Alberta starts in two weeks and along with it annual restrictions on burning activities. With the exception of campfires, permits will be required for all planned fires in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area starting Mar. 1.

Last year’s wildfire season produced 1,786 wildfires and burned more than 492,000 hectares, an amount the province says was more than twice the 25-year average.

The government’s earlier start to fire season was one of the Flat Top Wildfire Complex Review recommendations following Slave Lake area wildfires in 2011.

“By beginning one month early, we can more effectively monitor burning activities and also ensure that our firefighters are well prepared to respond quickly when wildfires are detected,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, in a release Monday.

Training starts for wildfire crew members and leaders will begin in March at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s training centre in Hinton.

Fire permits are available at and Agriculture and Forestry Office at no cost.

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