Alberta restricting OHV usage on public lands because of wildfire risk
The fire risk in Alberta is rated at 'extreme' in many areas of the province and bans have been called in many regions in Southern Alberta.
Published Tuesday, August 1, 2017 6:00AM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:50AM MDT
In addition to the number fire bans already in place in many areas of Southern and Central Alberta, the government is restricting the use of off-highway vehicles in public lands.
Oneil Carlier told a media conference in Edmonton on Tuesday morning that OHVs would be restricted on the public lands in the Forest Protection Area south of the Red Deer River along the mountains and foothills to the northern boundary of Waterton Lakes National Park.
“We are closely monitoring the situation as the fire hazard is reaching extreme levels throughout the forest in Southern Alberta. Any fire that starts could spread out of control in a very short time, that’s why we are taking additional steps to reduce the chance of any human caused fires starting,” Carlier said in a release.
Crews are continuing to battle a large blaze in the Verdant Creek area near Banff.
The hot, dry and windy weather has caused the wildfire in Kootenay National Park to continue to burn out of control.
As of the latest update, 5,100 hectares have been consumed in the fire and 80 crewmembers are working to get it under control.
Helicopters are again using Sunshine Village as a staging area, after the resort was evacuated on Monday because of the risk from the Verdant Creek wildfire. Mount Assiniboine Park has also been closed.
Fire bans are also in place in many areas of Southern Alberta, but Calgary still hasn’t called one.
Councillor Brian Pincott wants that to change and brought the issue up during Monday’s council meeting. He wants a fire ban called for Calgary because of air quality in the city.
Officials said there is no need to call one just yet, but they are keeping an eye on the changing conditions.
The air quality is expected to get up to 5 out of 10, or a moderate level, on Tuesday and into Wednesday.
No fires are permitted in the areas where a fire ban has been issued, but gas or propane stoves/barbecues are allowed, as well as portable fire pits.
The use of fireworks and exploding targets is also strictly prohibited.
Anyone found in violation of the ban could be issued a $287 fine.
For updated information on the fire bans in Alberta, visit the official website.