Above: Minister Oneil Carlier with wildland firefighter Ben Bartlett

by Morinville News Staff

Though snow and ice are still on the ground, Alberta wildland firefighters are gearing up to defend the province and its communities from forest fires.

Human activity caused more than 60 per cent of last year’s wildfires. Last year, 1,338 wildfires burned more than 611,000 hectares, including the Horse River wildfire that spread into Fort McMurray.

By starting Wildfire Season a month early once again, the province is hoping to remind Albertans to help prevent wildfires in forested areas by being extra careful.

“Protecting Albertans from the threat of wildfire is one of our highest priorities,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “That’s why we legislated March 1 as the start of fire season, recognizing that recent trends show wildfires are starting earlier in the spring. 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.”

Fire permits will be required for any burning, outside of campfires, in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. Fire permits are free and can be obtained by contacting your local Alberta Agriculture and Forestry office. Phone toll-free 310-0000 to locate your nearest office.

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