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Adding context to the human side of wildfires

Alberta Wildfire is sharing details on a stat that appears on its website, that 67 per cent of wildfires are caused by people.

It notes there were 1,088 wildfires last season with 629 caused by humans. However, the breakdown is:

  • Residential – 176 – that’s burning debris or grass without a permit or outside of permit conditions, having a campfire during a fire ban, a house fire spreading to the forest, a car accident fire spreading to the forest, and a spark from an incinerator or burn barrel which starts a fire
  • Industrial – 146 – includes wildfires caused by forest, oil and gas, power lines, railroad, and other industries. These can be wildfires caused by any machine, piece of equipment, employee, agent, or contractor performing work associated with industry operations and production
  • Incendiary – 125 – Incendiary wildfires are those that have been intentionally lit, such as fires started by a child, fireworks, exploding targets, and traditional grass burning for wildlife habitat. The arson classification is captured under the incendiary category and is defined as a wildfire set intentionally or recklessly to cause damage by fire or explosion to property. In 2023, 92 fires were classified as arson
  • Recreation – 97 – Wildfires started by recreation include abandoned campfires, campfires that were not properly extinguished, and off-highway vehicle fires
  • Power lines – 85 – Wildfires caused by any machine, employee, agent, or contractor performing work associated with a power line company. This includes any animals, trees, or anything that strikes a power line that may cause a spark

With the overall dry conditions on the Prairies, officials indicate preparations for this year continue. Crews will remain hopeful and welcome any moisture to dampen the dry conditions in hopes of staving off the fires that forced many communities to evacuate last year.

Numerous prevention tips are available on the Alberta Wildfire website. Wildfire preparation information is also available.

Fire restrictions are already in place for areas west of Lloydminster including County of Vermilion River.

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