LAKELAND – Despite ongoing dry weather, the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority has downgraded its fire ban and OHV restriction that was in effect to a fire restriction as of May 26. The County of St. Paul took similar steps, announcing it had downgraded to a fire restriction on Friday afternoon also.
The fire ban in the MD of Bonnyville was first put in place on May 5, while the fire ban in the County of St. Paul was put in place on May 4.
The change in status means people in the MD of Bonnyville, Summer Village of Bonnyville Beach, Summer Village of Pelican Narrows and the Village of Glendon can have safe wood campfires in a fire ring on private lands and in provincial campgrounds.
However, it is important to note that all outdoor wood fires remain banned on public lands, including backcountry and random camping areas.
The use of fireworks and exploding targets are also prohibited.
Existing fire permits will remain suspended, and no new fire permits will be issued, according to information provided by the BRFA. Essential burning may be allowed with written permission from a forest officer or Fire Guardian.
Under a fire restriction residents and visitors are allowed to use backyard fire pits, charcoal briquette barbecues, outdoor propane and natural gas powered appliances.
The public is also reminded to never leave a campfire unattended and if you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 310-FIRE.
“Soak it, stir it and soak it again until cool to the touch to ensure it is extinguished,” notes the BRFA.
County of St. Paul
The County of St. Paul’s fire restriction states that “safe campfires are allowed in campgrounds and other areas only with approved pits.” Spark arresters or metal guards should be in place while using a fire pit.
No open fires are allowed within the County of St. Paul, and no new burn permits are being issued.
“We ask everyone to enjoy themselves responsibly, and to ensure their campfires are attended to at all times and completely extinguished when finished,” according to information from St. Paul Fire Chief Trevor Kotowich
The 2023 fire season is not over, with dry weather threating to stick around.
Environment Canada shows that this year, only 5.5 mm of precipitation has fallen in the Cold Lake area in May, 8.2 mm in April and 10.6 mm in March.
Last year, the area saw 20.6 mm of precipitation fall in May, 21 mm in April and 17.9 mm fall in March.
As of May 26, there were 55 wildfires burning in the province, predominantly in the northwest, according to the Alberta government’s wildfire dashboard.
Please monitor www.albertafirebans.ca daily for any updates or changes. For further information contact the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority 780-826-4755