Wildfire season begins one month early in Alberta
EDMONTON, ALTA-Alberta's Sustainable Resource Development has declared March 1 the start of the 2006 wildfire season. This is a month earlier than normal due to lack of winter precipitation across much of the province. There have already been two substantial wildfires in the first two months of 2006. On February 6, a grass fire forced the evacuation of the community of Carseland, and on February 12. a 40-hectare grass fire ignited near Morley, in southern Alberta. Sustainable Resource Development Minister David Coutts said the early start to the season means that Albertans will need to obtain a fire permit before doing any burning, other than campfires, in the province's Forest Protection Area. "By starting wildfire season early, launching our education programs and continuing with our FireSmart activities, we can all work together to reduce the threat to our communities," he said. Fire permits are available free from any Alberta Sustainable Resource Development office.