Dry conditions and warm temperatures have Alberta Agriculture and Forestry raising the risk level for wildfires in the Fort McMurray region.
The risk has jumped from “low-moderate” to “very high” after two wildfires in two days. A fire burned close to residential neighbourhoods in Timberlea and Parsons Creek Friday evening for several hours. As of 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening another fire behind Abasand Heights had been brought under control.
“We’ve got a wet-line around it,” said R.E.S. Assistant Deputy Chief of Operations Jody Butz. “A couple of guys are going to babysit it overnight, and then crews will be back in there tomorrow morning… There’s no concern.”
Butz added that the blaze had destroyed just under two acres of land near Horse River.
— Lauren O’Hare (@Mix1037Lauren) April 30, 2016
Area Information Coordinator for Agriculture and Forestry Lynn Daina told Mix News that while the Timberlea/Parsons Creek fire is still being investigated, they’ve determined it to be human-caused. Given the absence of lightning strikes, there aren’t many other possible causes.
Warm and dry conditions are expected to continue throughout the next seven days with mostly sunny conditions. Environment Canada is predicting a high on Thursday of 30°C.
People are being reminded to ensure campfires are out by dousing the flames with water, stirring the ashes, then dousing again. Those using off-highway vehicles are also being asked to ensure debris is cleared from hotspots on the vehicle to ensure nothing catches fire. Smokers are also asked to not throw butts out their vehicle windows or onto the ground.
Those who see wildfires are also encouraged to call 310-FIRE.