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Controlled Fire Management
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Hazard Reducing Burn Program

What is the hazard reduction burn program?

The hazard reduction burn program is an initiative led by Regional Emergency Services that takes place in early spring. This program is 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 fires are managed

Controlled fires are managed by an Ignition Team of trained professionals 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 fire stays within its predetermined boundaries, and smoke production is minimized.

Controlled fires 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 hazard reduction burn program, residents might see…

  • Ignition teams and fire crews from Regional Emergency Services and Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
  • Fire trucks
  • Firefighting equipment
  • Flames from a controlled fire
  • Smoke from a controlled fire Signs indicating fire / smoke in the area
  • Blackened sections from the burned areas. In a few weeks however, these sections will be green with new growth!

During the Controlled Fire Management Program, residents are reminded…

  • Not to call 911 when they see controlled fires in progress. For questions, please contact the Fire Prevention Branch at 780-792-5519.
  • To keep a safe distance from all controlled fires and fire crews

Have Your Say: Winter Maintenance Zone Survey April 18 - May 13 [Learn more]