Fire Fighting in Canada

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Alberta officials enact fire restrictions

May 22, 2015, Edmonton - As much of Alberta faces dry and windy conditions, officials are taking measures to prevent wildfires from starting.

Throughout parts of northwestern Alberta, including in the City of Edmonton, officials have enacted a variety of fire restrictions as crews have been called to deal with a growing number of wildfires.

One area affected by fire restrictions stretches from Whitecourt, north to the border with the Northwest Territories.

The restrictions mean no open burning is allowed in the back country, and fires are not allowed except in campgrounds.

Geoffrey Driscoll of Alberta Environmental Sustainable Resource Development is predicting a worse season than normal.

He says so far, the dry spring reminds him of the summer of 2011 when wildfires ended up destroying about 40 per cent of the town of Slave Lake.

"We haven't seen weather like this for a long time,'' Driscoll told CTV Edmonton, adding that the Slave Lake situtation "is something that's always in the back of firefighters' minds.''

As some restrictions enacted to prevent wildfires include banning fireworks, some planned events have had to be cancelled, including a fireworks display for the town of Devon's annual exhibition.

"We don't see any sort of relief in sight, there's not going not be any rain for the next little while, so these fires are going to get harder and harder to control,'' Driscoll said. "That's why Albertans need to be really careful.''

May 22, 2015  By The Canadian Press

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