Wildfire Season Already Heating Up

·1 min read

Unfortunately, wildfire season seems to be off to a galloping start this year. The news over the weekend was awash with troubling reports of Albertan communities being evacuated due to encroaching fires. Evansburg and Entwistle were evacuated Saturday, and an area north of Highridge was evacuated on Sunday (fortunately, this evacuation order was lifted later that day).

The Grizzly Gazette contacted Derrick Forsythe, a Wildfire Information Officer with Alberta Wildfire, to learn more about the situation.

Forsythe explains that with a combination of dried grass, windy conditions, and higher temperatures than usual for this time of year, “All of northern Alberta is looking hot right now.”

And unfortunately, the forecast doesn’t look great for the foreseeable future. According to Forsythe, the meteorologists working with Alberta Wildfire aren’t forecasting any meaningful precipitation in the near future that could alleviate the situation for much of the northern zone. “We’re trending upwards in terms of wildfire risk.” Said Forsythe.

Forsythe explains that at this time of year, in the spring, there are two leading causes of fire, lightning and human activity. Fortunately, the conditions do not seem to be favourable for lightning. With the current conditions and warm, dry forecast for the foreseeable future, it is more important than ever to be extremely cautious and mindful of any potential sources of ignition that could spark a blaze.

Closer to Swan Hills, the wildfire danger is Very High for both the Slave Lake and Whitecourt Forest Areas, with a fire restriction in place for both areas.

Please be cautious in the current wildfire conditions and remember to report wildfires immediately at 310-3473.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette