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Fires Mean You May Need To Change Your Long Weekend Plans

To avoid human-caused wildfires, Smith's government has closed 12 provincial parks for the long weekend

With the Victoria Day long weekend right around the corner, the Alberta government has closed 12 provincial parks and recreation areas across the province. 

Why?

Because we are our own worst enemy. According to the Alberta government, most wildfires are caused by humans. Last year, more than 60 percent of wildfires here in Alberta were human-caused.

Wildfires are often caused by accident, whether it’s an unattended campfire or a stray cigarette butt. So far this year, Alberta Wildfire claims almost half of our wildfires were caused by human activity. 

Another 45 percent remain under investigation. With this in mind, several parks and recreation areas are being closed to lower the risk of wildfires. 

a wildfire burning with smoke bellowing into the sky
Alberta Wildfire | Twitter

Some now-closed parks include Young’s Point Provincial Park, Williamson Provincial Park, and Two Lakes Provincial Park, among others.

The wildfire emergency updates webpage shows a complete list of provincial park and recreation area closures. 

Over 10 million people visited Alberta’s provincial parks in 2022. This number is expected to grow, with the Alberta government investing more than $211 million in the province’s parks and public lands in March.

However, numbers may look different this year as wildfires continue to blaze across the province. When writing this, there are 94 active wildfires, and 25 are out of control.

“We will manage the wildfire situation in the face of extreme conditions, and we ask Albertans for their help, too…Don’t be responsible for starting a new wildfire,” said Alberta Wildfire’s Christie Tucker during a wildfire update.

According to Josee St-Onge, an information officer with Alberta Wildfire, the Victoria Day long weekend is when the province sees the most human-caused wildfires. 

“…more people are going to be outdoors for the long weekend, enjoying themselves and sometimes that can lead to some unintentional wildfires,” commented St-Onge. 

According to Jesse Wagar, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, dry conditions and unusually high temperatures are expected this weekend. 

If that weren’t bad enough, there will also be strong winds and a risk of thunderstorms, which could spark new fires.

However, there is hope yet. Next week’s forecast calls for rain across central and northern Alberta, with west central likely to see the most rainfall. 

“Exactly how much rain we’re going to see remains to be seen…But it is looking hopeful,” commented Wagar. 

 

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