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Average wildfire danger in Calgary Forest Area now high, officials say

Officials say an abandoned campfire is to blame for a wildfire near Fisher Creek, west of Millarville on June 2, 2024. (Supplied/Alberta Wildfire) Officials say an abandoned campfire is to blame for a wildfire near Fisher Creek, west of Millarville on June 2, 2024. (Supplied/Alberta Wildfire)
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The risk of a wildfire in the Calgary Forest Area (CFA) is now high, with some areas at very high or extreme risk of fire, officials say.

The government says the rating points to a lack of precipitation through much of the area is to blame for the change.

"Although some much-needed precipitation fell in some areas of the CFA, it was very localized and only decreased the wildfire danger in the immediate area. This week will bring more warm temperatures and dry conditions," officials said in an online statement.

There are also some very strong winds in the forecast, said officials, which could make firefighting efforts more difficult when required, they added.

Despite the risk, there are no active wildfires in the region, which stretches from west of Carstairs, Cochrane and Calgary, down to west of Pincher Creek.

Since Jan. 1, there have been 45 wildfires in the CFA, burning approximately 11.96 hectares of land.

Fire ban still in place for Calgary and area

A fire ban remains in place for the city of Calgary and many surrounding communities because of a water main break that has created a water shortage.

Calgary officials said Tuesday they issued 71 notices for active fire pits since the fire ban was called in the city and 58 of those cases have been resolved.

Bylaw officers have also issued nine written warnings and 28 verbal warnings to other residents.

"We'd like to remind Calgarians that gas and propane fire pits are not allowed to be used during the fire ban," said Sue Henry, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

Calgary fire chief Steve Dongworth says "the risk of a low water supply is very real."

"The Calgary Fire Department has taken a measured and cautious approach in the advice we are offering Calgarians and the direction we are providing businesses when it comes to fire prevention," he said during Tuesday's update of Calgary's water main break.

The restrictions are also in place for businesses and he says they have been working with the Calgary Construction Association to come up with solutions that would satisfy the need for fire prevention as well as help their projects progress.

"The fire department is now allowing roofing work that involves hot air welding and cold processes roofing, including new construction projects, providing that a fire watch is maintained for 60 minutes post application and is followed by an inspection four hours after completion."

Many other forms of construction work is still restricted under the current fire ban including hot works with an open flame or with bitumen and tar kettles on new construction or existing structures.

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