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Wildfire risk rising in southern Alberta

Alberta and most of the country have had relatively few fires to start the fire season, thanks to cooler temperatures and moisture. But higher temperatures and high winds have many concerned more wildfires are on the way. Alberta and most of the country have had relatively few fires to start the fire season, thanks to cooler temperatures and moisture. But higher temperatures and high winds have many concerned more wildfires are on the way.
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LETHBRIDGE -

Alberta and most of the country have had relatively few fires to start the fire season, thanks to cooler temperatures and moisture.

"There are now 69 active wildfires burning. To date, 500,000 hectares have burnt. The good news is in spite of the situation, the number of fires is well below the average of this time of the year," said federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan.

But higher temperatures and high winds have many concerned more wildfires are on the way.

The Calgary Forest Area has already upgraded its fire risk to high.

"The Calgary Forest Area did receive a little bit of precipitation but it was localized and most of the area hasn't received a lot of precipitation," said Alberta Wildfire Service information officer Kai Bowering.

The Calgary Forest Area straddles the border with B.C., north past Banff and all the way south near Waterton.

In it, there are some areas with very high and even extreme fire risk.

"The concern is greater the higher the wildfire danger is but we do have lots of resources on standby ready to respond."

Preparations are underway to deal with wildfires if and when they appear.

Extra firefighters are being recruited for this fire season.

The Alberta Wildfire Service is asking anyone in a forested area to be fire-smart.

"We always encourage people to use caution when recreating in forested areas, especially when the wildfire risk is higher. So if anyone is going out this weekend, be sure to use caution and if you're having a campfire, properly extinguish it by soaking it, stirring it and soaking it again," Bowering said.

Currently, there are 18 active wildfires in the province but none are in the Calgary Forest Area.

Last year, a record-breaking 2.2 million hectares of land were burned across the province due to wildfires.

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