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Alberta Wildfire lifts Off Highway Vehicle ban

Last Updated May 22, 2020 at 2:29 pm MDT

PHOTO. Alberta Wildfire's headquarters in Fort McMurray, Alta. Melanie Walsh

With the recent rain throughout the province Alberta Wildfire is lifting the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) restriction for the rural areas surrounding Fort McMurray, the High Level Forest Area, Peace River Forest Area and the northwestern part of Slave Lake.

Alberta Wildfire will continue to monitor the situation and the restriction can be phased back in if needed according to the wildfire risk in each area.

OHV riders are reminded to clear debris from the exhaust, muffler, under the seat, wheel wells, around the engine and ground and to carry a small fire extinguisher, a collapsible shovel and water that can help extinguish a wildfire and safely dispose of hot debris.

The provincial fire ban does remain in effect. Less than one per cent of human-caused wildfires are caused by OHV use.

Lynn Daina, Wildfire Information Officer, Fort McMurray Forest Area said the majority of wildfires in the spring are caused by humans.

“Most of those are due to campfires and unsafe fires by residents… as a province we are trying to eliminate as many human caused wildfires as possible at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic response and the possibility of reduced firefighter availability.”

Those who do not comply with the fireban could be fined $600.

Since the start of wildfire season on March 1, there have been five new wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area that have since been extinguished. There are currently nine wildfires in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. Six of these wildfires are under control and three have been turned over to the responsible parties.

As of Friday, May 22 the wildfire danger rating for the fort McMurray Forest Area is low both north of Fort Chipewyan and south of Lake Athabasca. Cured, dry grass is the largest concern as fires that start can still spread quickly under current conditions.

More information on the current wildfire situation across the province is available online.