Caution when winter burning |

Spring wildfires may result from smouldering winter burns.

‘Wildfire danger is based on a number of factors and the moisture content of fine fuels like leaf litter, needles and small twigs can play an important part,’ says Erin Davidson, provincial info officer with Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development.

‘Large amounts of snow and below average temperatures in the winter do not necessarily mean a slower start to the wildfire season. The wildfire hazard in Alberta is largely dependent upon the spring precipitation received particularly through the end of late March to the end of May.’

At this time of 12 months, business and landowners usually reap the benefits of the cooler climate to burn particles and brush on their land. However, landowners must be cautious that their actions don’t begin a wildfire.

The majority of wildfires are began by people. Alberta Wildfire urges anybody doing winter burning to make sure their piles have been totally extinguished.

‘If fires are not properly put out, they can spread and burn underground, even under the snow and ice, all winter. Under the right conditions, these fires can re-emerge in the spring as wildfires,’ says Davidson.

Following protected burning practices throughout this era will assist forestall holdover fires that may begin spring wildfires. Although snow helps cut back the chance of the fireplace burning into the bottom, it’s  advisable that landowners frequently revisit all fall and winter burn websites to make sure the fireplace is out.

‘Walk the burn area and roll over any debris to check for hot spots. The best way to find hotspots is to look for visible signs of burning such as melting snow around the edges. Touch the burn area with your hands and smell for smoke.’

Things to think about when burning this winter:

For questions on correct burning procedures, go to the Alberta Wildfire web site or cellphone 310-0000.

If you see smoke within the forest, report wildfires by calling 310-FIRE (3473).

Source : alberta

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