Alberta fire season now underway, 10 days earlier than usual

Alberta’s government has declared the official start of wildfire season ten days early, and the Minister of Forestry and Parks is requesting additional funding in Budget 2024 for additional fire crews.

By News Staff

Alberta is declaring an early start to this year’s wildfire season.

The season, which usually runs from March 1 to Oct. 31, is now underway – 10 days earlier than normal.

That decision was made due to warmer than normal temperatures and below average precipitation in many areas of the province, Minister of Forestry and Parks Todd Loewen said Tuesday.

Declaring an early start to the season will give Alberta Wildfire more measures, Loewen adds, such as imposing fire bans and requiring Albertans to secure a permit to burn in the forest protection area.

Loewen also says the province is planning to hire 100 new firefighters – five 20-person crews – if passed as part of budget 2024.

The province says preparations for the 2024 wildfire season have been underway for months.

Loewen says Alberta will engage in “enhanced night operations,” such as ground suppression efforts, night-vision helicopters and nighttime helitanking.

Last month, Alberta’s fire chiefs warned this year’s wildfire season has the potential to resemble last year’s record-breaking and “devastating” situation.

The province saw a total of 1,088 wildfires that burned about 22,000 square kilometres from March 1 to Oct. 31 – 10 times more area than the five-year average. The previous record for area burned was 1981 with 13,000 square kilometres.

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