Wildfire season has officially begun in Sturgeon County.
According to Sturgeon County Fire Services, the below-average snowfall this winter and the recent warm temperatures have created the perfect conditions for fire.
“Provincial Forestry Officials are predicting a quick melt and a very dry April and May, which can create high fire hazards,” said Pat Mahoney, Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services for Sturgeon County. “Our fire crews have been busy preparing and will be ready to respond to any wildfires this season. Of course, residents and businesses can also play a big part in fire prevention.”
Here are a few simple steps to help reduce the threat of wildfire in Sturgeon County:
- Mow and water your grass regularly
- Remove all long grass, shrubs, logs, branches, twigs, and needles within 10 metres of buildings
- Contact the utility company if trees or branches are not clear of power lines on your property
- Prune branches from the base of your trees to reduce the chances of a fire running up the tree.
- Remove dry and dead plant debris from under decks, in the gutters and accumulations against any structure
- Use fire pits and burn barrels with caution
- Store firewood a minimum of 10 metres from any structure
- Plant trees like aspen, birch, or poplar, which are less flammable than others like spruce or pine
- Clean the mufflers on your all-terrain/off-highway vehicles and use spark arrestors where possible.
“Wildfires in open areas can spread rapidly and threaten homes and businesses,” said Chief Mahoney. “We encourage everyone to go around their property and eliminate as many fire hazards and fuel sources as possible to help reduce the risk.”
Residents are asked to use caution and following burn permit conditions where applicable when using backyard fire pits, burn barrels and or incinerators.
Chief Mahoney also says that improperly discarded cigarettes are also found to contribute to grass and wildland fires: “The simple act of properly extinguishing a cigarette or other smoking material in a deep, non-combustible ashtray can reduce the number of fires and help save lives and reduce property loss.”
To receive updates during wildfire season, including important notifications, download the new Sturgeon County app at www.sturgeoncounty.ca/app.
More information on wildfire safety can be found on the Alberta Wildfire website at www.wildfire.alberta.ca/firesmart.