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The Alberta government announced that nearly all of the province’s wildfires in 2024 were human-caused, stressing the need for individual action to prevent future fires. 

When risk levels are high, all Albertans play a crucial role in reducing human-caused wildfires. All provincial residents need to play their part in helping mitigate human-caused wildfires and protect Albertan communities.

Wildfire officers and Alberta’s parks minister delivered this message during a press conference on Thursday, where they provided updates on the wildfire situation in the province. 

“So far this season, we expect that almost all of the wildfires we’ve experienced so far this year are human-caused,” said Alberta’s minister of forestry and parks, Todd Loewen.

True North previously reported that there was no evidence that extreme weather events are on the rise despite activist claims.

Alberta’s wildfire personnel have already fully extinguished 200 wildfires this year. 

As of Wednesday, 63 active wildfires were burning in Alberta, none were classified as out of control — seven were being held, and 56 were under control.

So far in 2024, the provincial wildfire team has responded to 205 wildfires that have burned approximately 755 hectares, confirmed Alberta’s wildfire provincial information officer, Josee St-Onge.

She said the five-year average for this time of year is 120 wildfires, with about 230 hectares burned.

Recent snowmelt in the province has exposed extremely flammable dead and dry vegetation. 

“We need significant and continued rain to overcome the drought conditions that we are experiencing in many parts of the province,” said St-Onge. 

She asked all Albertans to continue doing their part in preventing human-caused wildfires.

“A fire restriction is in place in most of the forest protection area of Alberta, and many municipalities have put in their own bans and restrictions,” St-Onge added.

A province-wide fire restriction came into effect on Wednesday, prohibiting fires for all of the Forest Protection Area of Alberta, except for the Calgary Forest Area. All outdoor fires, including backcountry and random camping areas, are prohibited on public lands, but fires are permitted in designated campgrounds.

The fire restriction is set to remain in place until conditions improve.

When fires start within municipalities, they take the lead in firefighting efforts. If they need extra support, the province is on standby to help when requested.

True North previously reported that other provinces’ wildfires were overwhelmingly caused by human activity and that the number of total fires and total area burned in Canada is lower than in 1980 — the furthest the data goes back.

The province urged all its residents to download the wildfire ban and Alberta emergency apps, which contain up-to-date information on Alberta’s wildfire situation. 

Alberta pledged to hire 100 additional firefighters back in February.

Loewen confirmed that the province has hired 39% more firefighters compared to this time last year.

Two communities were recently evacuated in Alberta. The managing director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, Steve Lacroix, confirmed that 12 households, approximately 30 individuals, were recently evacuated from the Municipal District of Peace.

“And we still have 20 individuals still evacuated from Cold Lake First Nations,” he added. “Although, the evacuation order has been lifted, so they should be back home shortly.”

The Alberta government will provide weekly wildfire updates to ensure that Albertans can stay informed on how the season develops.

The province is expected to provide the upcoming wildfire update next Wednesday.