Wildfire Season Starts March 1

| February 17, 2017



Until the snow completely melts, the wildfire hazard remains LOW in the Whitecourt Forest Area. In recent days, the snow has been disappearing quickly, exposing dead, dry grasses and vegetation. These conditions allow for wildfires to catch easily and move quickly in snow-free areas. Use extra caution while working and recreating in the forest and consider postponing any non-essential burning until after grasses and leaves green-up.


Since the end of the Wildfire Season (October 31), firefighters have responded to two new wildfires that have burned just under 0.5 hectares in the Whitecourt Forest Area.

For information on the wildfire situation across the province of Alberta, visit wildfire.alberta.ca.



All winter burning must be completely extinguished before the start of Wildfire Season March 1. Take the time now to re-check your fall or winter burn sites. Here are some helpful tips when checking the burn site:

  • Roll debris over, using a metal probe, probe debris and the ground. Look for flames, smouldering debris or steam. 
  • If you find any hot spots, pour water or dump snow on it. Stir, soak repeat until there is no steam or heating coming from the pile.
  • Be thorough and walk around the entire burn site.

Once the wildfire season starts, a free permit is required for all burning (except for campfires) within the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. Learn more here.

Click here to view the February 15th announcement about the start of Alberta’s wildfire season.



At this time, consider postponing all non-essential burning until leaves and grasses turn green. Now is the time to go re-check winter burn sites.

If the burn is considered essential, note that fire permits are not required for burning within the Forest Protection Area until March 1. Reporting a winter burn site location helps firefighters respond to actual wildfires – not a winter burn site. Read tips on successful winter burning here.

To report your winter burn site, call the Whitecourt Forest Area Office: 780-778-7272.


Unless conditions change, your next wildfire update will be on March 1, 2017.

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