Controlled Fire Management
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Controlled Burns

What are controlled burns?

Controlled burns are a safe and effective way of reducing fire hazard throughout the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo by burning dead and dry fuels that accumulate during the winter, while restoring green growth and vitality to the region’s landscape.  Dry fuels are hazardous because they can easily ignite with the toss of cigarette butt or a spark from the exhaust of an off-highway vehicle.

Controlled burns are managed

Controlled burns are managed by trained RES crews who understand the science of fire behaviour and fire management.  Before the Ignition Team begins burning, a specific set of weather conditions must be present, including: wind speed and direction, ground moisture, humidity and temperature. These conditions ensure the controlled burn stays within its predetermined boundaries, and smoke production is minimized.

Controlled burns benefit the landscape

Fire is a natural part of a healthy ecosystem; it recycles nutrients, helps plants reproduce and creates a mosaic of vegetation types that provide habitat for a variety of species of wildlife. Controlled fires mimic the natural role of fire by removing build up on the ground; improving and promoting the growth of new vegetation, while managing fire hazard. When fires are controlled and managed by a trained Ignition Team, they will help regenerate the landscape in the Municipality.  

During the controlled burns, residents might see…

  • RES fire crews
  • Fire trucks
  • Firefighting equipment
  • Flames from a controlled fire
  • Smoke from a controlled fire
  • Blackened sections from the burned areas. In a few weeks however, these sections will be green with new growth!

During the controlled burns, residents are reminded…

  • Not to call 911 when they see controlled fires in progress. For questions, please contact PULSE Line at 780-743-7000
  • To keep a safe distance from all controlled fires and fire crews

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