Region gets off lightly; only one new start in hot, smoky week

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

The wildfire danger has climbed to very high for the entire Slave Lake Forest Area.

Strong gusty winds and scattered thunderstorms with lightning are expected. Under these conditions a wildfire will ignite easily and spread quickly. Firefighters, helicopters and airtankers are on alert, ready to fight any new wildfires that may start.

Fire permit holders must postpone burning today as the winds will exceed the safe burning conditions on the fire permit.Smoke drifting in from British Columbia was another story (already dealt with on Page 1). There was one new fire in the area last week. Wildfire Information Officer Leah Lovequist says it started on Aug. 7, approximately six kilometres east of Smith. She says the grass fire was quickly contained by firefighters and was 9.6 hectares in size.

The fire was in a hay field, The Leader has learned from other sources, near the East Fawcett Road. Lovequist’s report did not say how the fire started.

A couple other active fires in the region were caused by lightning. Slave Lake Wildfire number 145, located nine kilometres south of Chipewyan Lake was being held at last report. It was first noticed on August 5 and is 27 hectares in size. Twenty firefighters and one helicopter were working to extinguish smouldering ground fires on this wildfire as of late last week.

Fire # 132, located 37 kilometres northeast of Chipewyan Lake, is under control. It was also caused by lightning, on August 1. It got to be 66.5 hectares in size.

Since March 1, in the Slave Lake Forest Area, there have been 148 wildfires, which have burned 6,739.96 hectares. For up-to-date information on the wildfire situation, subscribe to the Slave Lake Forest Area Wildfire Update and download the free Alberta Wildfire App.

There are no fire bans, restrictions or advisories in the Slave Lake Forest Area. For information on fire bans in Alberta visit firebansalberta.ca or download the free Alberta Fire Bans App.

A campfire for cooking or warming does not require a fire permit. To request a free fire permit, contact your local Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Office. The numbers are: Slave Lake/Red Earth/Trout/Peerless/Loon 780-849-7377, Wabasca 780-891-3860 or High Prairie 780-523-6619.

Lovequist says fire permits help to track what is burning. If burning without a permit or outside of the conditions, the fire will be considered a wildfire. By getting a fire permit you help keep firefighters free to fight real wildfires instead of responding to the smoke in your backyard.

Lovequist explains an off-highway vehicle’s exhaust can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees Celsius. She says this means it won’t take long for that wet and muddy debris to dry up, start smouldering and fall to the ground as you drive away. People can help prevent a wildfire by stopping frequently to remove any build-up of debris from the hot spots on the machine.

Questions? Contact Lovequist at 780-849-0945.

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