Lacombe County and Red Deer County are both under a fire restriction.
The quick melt of the winter snow thanks to sudden warm spring temperatures has created dry conditions, which can “lead to a fire growing out of control,” both Counties say.
The fire restrictions, which were put in place April 6 and April 7 respectively, does not affect the City of Lacombe or the Town of Sylvan Lake, which put their own bans and restrictions in place if it is deemed necessary.
Both counties will not be issuing new fire permits while the restrictions are in effect.
“All outdoor fires presently burning within Red Deer County whether set with permission or under permit of the County, will remain valid for the duration of the permit,” Red Deer County said in a press release.
“At this time, Lacombe County has cancelled current fire permits and has suspended any fire permit requests. We ask that all fires are extinguished until conditions improve,” Lacombe County said.
The fire restrictions in the counties does not apply fires contained in cooking and heating appliances, in acceptable residential fire pits, gas or propane fuelled pits, stoves or barbecues.
Lacombe County says “safe wood campfires” are still allowed while the fire ban is in effect.
“Safe wood campfires include those on private and public lands, including campgrounds and recreation areas. They must be within a metal, brick, or rock fire ring and comply with Lacombe County’s fire bylaw,” Lacombe County said.
Safe wood campfires are required to be on a rock, gravel, sand, or another non-combustible surface that extends at least one metre around the fire, be attended by a responsible person and have enough water on site to be extinguished before leaving, according to Lacombe County.
“Burns already completed should be checked, and extra care should be used to ensure burns are completely extinguished. This Fire Restriction may be elevated to a Fire Ban at any time and will remain in effect until conditions improve,” said Lacombe County.
“Any person violating conditions of this ban may be held liable for any damages and/or costs associated with extinguishing the fire and full prosecution with penalties, in accordance with Red Deer County Fire Services Bylaw 2012/14 and/or the Forest Prairie Protection Act RSA,” Red Deer County said.