Alberta government declares ‘early start’ to wildfire season

After the destructive wildfires in Canada in 2023, Alberta is getting a head start on preparations this year by declaring an 'early start' to the season

Alberta’s forestry minister has declared an "early start to wildfire season," announcing a number of new measures aimed at preparing for a potentially severe year.

“We have requested funding for an additional 100 wildland firefighters in budget 2024,” Todd Loewen, forestry minister, said Tuesday afternoon at a warehouse in Whitecourt, Alta.

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“As of today, a permit is required for any burning planned in the forest protection area. This will reduce the likelihood of new, human-caused wildfires.”

Alberta forestry minister Todd Loewen /Alberta government/YouTube

(Alberta government/YouTube)

Alberta Wildfire typically defines the season as March through October. Loewen, though, says prevailing conditions are motivating the province to take a proactive stance, and it asked Albertans to do the same.

“We know we’re in an El Niño right now that’s been causing us to have warmer and drier temperatures overall. We’re hoping that comes to an end,” Loewen said.

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“I urge Albertans, especially those who live in or near the forest protection areas, to become familiar with FireSmart principles and prepare their homes, properties and communities accordingly.”


Loewen stated thermal-imaging drones will be used to monitor fires following a pilot project in 2023, and nighttime helicopter operations will be expanded.

The forestry minister noted the 100 new positions would result in 1,000 firefighting personnel working by May 15.

Alberta is scheduled to release its 2024 budget next week.

Visit The Weather Network's wildfire hub to keep up with the latest on the 2024 wildfire season across Canada.

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Thumbnail courtesy of Alberta Wildfire.