Since the devastating fire at Slave Lake in May 2011, the province of Alberta has adopted an early start date to it’s wildfire season.
Canada and US Wildfire Season 2016
BC Parks officials in conjunction with the BC Wildfire Service are planning a prescribed burn in Monck Provincial Park near Merritt this March to restore the area’s ecosystem and reduce wildfire risks.
The eight-hectare burn area will be visible to people at Nicola Lakeshore Estates and residences west of the park near Monck Park Rd, and also from Highway 5A.
Meanwhile, in Alberta, the lack of moisture from this winter isn’t necessarily the tell-all sign of what kind of wildfire season the area will see this year. Kelly Burke, area information co-ordinator for Grande Prairie with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said Monday the weather the area will see during wildfire season, which starts March 1, will give a better idea.
Alberta Wildfire Information Officer Travis Fairweather is expecting similar conditions this year to last, but it’s hard to predict if Alberta will get roughly 1,786 wildfires it recorded last season, because that depends on the amount of rain.
Crews are still bracing for a potentially busy season by starting early on March 1, so firefighters can be deployed to different parts of the province. Fair- weather says an early winter thaw is exposing heaps of dry grass that can easily catch fire.
He says winter burn sites are risky right now because they could have potentially been burning under the snow for months. Officials want people in the back- country to take precautions right now.
There were 202 wildfires last year in the Calgary Forest Protection Area, which is west of the city. All but seven were human caused.
A task force aimed at minimizing the adverse impacts of drought in Oregon was created Thursday by House Bill 4113, which also appropriated US$25,000 for it.
Oregon’s governor and legislative leaders will appoint up to 15 members to the task force, which will identify tools and data to mitigate drought effects.
Another piece of drought-related legislation aims to reduce unnecessary water usage during times of scarcity for irrigators and the environment.
Under Senate Bill 1529, irrigation requirements imposed by homeowner associations and similar planned communities would be rendered unenforceable during droughts declared by Oregon’s governor, state water regulators or local governments.
Rangeland protection associations, which fight wildfires in remote rural areas, may be authorized by county governments under House Bill 4007.
Previously, such associations could only be sanctioned by the Oregon Board of Forestry. Under HB 4007, new county-approved rangeland protection associations will be eligible for the same insurance benefits as those authorized by the board.
Emergency responders have put out several grassfires around Larimer County during the last few weeks, and the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Larimer County on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. The NWS issues the warnings when an area hits the sweet spot of high winds and low humidity.
Recent winds have stripped grasses of whatever moisture that remained from earlier-season snows, leaving behind lots of fodder for fires. Forest fires aren’t much of an issue now because trees retain more moisture than grass, said Justin Whitesell, emergency opera- tions manager with the Larimer County Office of Emergency Management.
Most grassfires this time of year are human-caused — related to campfires, vehicles or ill-advised slash- or trash-burning, Whitesell said.
Meteorologists and emergency responders advise residents to be aware of the heightened risk and follow local burning regulations. But as longtime Fort Collins residents probably know, the windy, dry weather we’ve seen lately is par for the course.
The state Division of Forestry said Thursday the wild- fire season is starting early in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
The division says fire escaped Monday from an unattended burn barrel, lit brush and destroyed a shed with tools near Meadow Lakes west of Wasilla. This is exactly one week after Alaska’s first wildfire of 2016 was reported near Delta Junction.
This year’s wildfire season is starting weeks earlier than what used to be considered normal. Low snow conditions have left Mat-Su and Southcentral facing another potentially disastrous fire season like that of 2015, officials warn.
Firefighters from the Central Mat-Su Fire Department and Meadow Lakes Fire Department prevented the fire from spreading to a home and kept the burn area to one-tenth of an acre.
The homeowner was issued a warning for an inadequate fire break and uncontrolled spread of a fire.
Firefighters say the incident illustrates how dry conditions are in southcentral Alaska.
A new long-range fire weather forecast issued Tuesday projects warmer and drier than normal weather in March and April.