WESTLOCK - Almost four weeks after enacting a total fire ban for Westlock County, the municipality has downgraded to a fire restriction, which allows residents to use their burn barrels, while fire permits will be restricted to “essential burning only” for things like small debris and crop removal.
The municipality announced the downgrade at 2 p.m., May 26, following a week that included some rain and slightly cooler temperatures. As it now stands, backyard fire pits, burn barrels, professionally-engineered incinerators, CSA approved or UL certified portable propane fire pits and “safe wood fires” in municipal or private campgrounds within designated fire rings are allowed.
“Supervise and extinguish all fires during windy dry conditions. If you are burning you SHALL have water, and extinguishing equipment handy and ready,” reads the notice from the county in part.
Still prohibited is target shooting and the operation of off-highway vehicles on public land within Westlock County — tracer rounds and exploding targets are already banned. The order does not apply to the use of off-highway vehicles on private lands or by any individual when exercising a right recognized and affirmed under Part II of the Constitution Act, 1982 or a right under section 12 of the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement or when travelling to a location to exercise such a right.
Permits will not be issued for large brush fires and no backcountry wood fires on public lands within the county are allowed. Tiki torches, fireworks and fires using charcoal briquettes on public lands also remain forbidden. As of May 27, the Town of Westlock and Village of Clyde fire restrictions that were enacted May 1 alongside the county fire ban also remain — those municipalities have forbidden open burning and stopped issuing fire pit permits.
To stay up to date with fire bans and restrictions, visit albertafirebans.ca and always call 9-1-1 immediately to report any fire as minutes and seconds can matter. Residents who live or travel in the forest fire protection area zone 44 must adhere to provincial ban and should refer to Alberta Fire Control Zone Map at www.alberta.ca/alberta-wildfire.aspx.