Facing an increased risk of wildfires due to unseasonably high temperatures and parched conditions, Alberta’s (Canada) government has closed 12 provincial parks and recreation areas ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend.
As per a report, the closures are an attempt to lower the risk of more wildfires starting and spreading across the region.
Authorities have advised against outdoor activities, such as backcountry camping, mountain biking, and hiking in areas including Edson, Grande Prairie, High Level, Peace River, Slave Lake, Whitecourt forest areas, and the Rocky Mountain House forest area located north of Highway 11. This warning comes as a precautionary measure to keep the public safe in light of the heightened fire risk.
The closures affect several provincial parks, recreation areas, and campgrounds where the fire danger is high. Additional sites are being monitored, and the province will provide updates in the coming days. An updated list of affected areas can be found online for those wishing to stay informed about the situation.
All campers with reservations in the affected areas will receive a refund. The government recognizes the inconvenience this may cause, but emphasizes that public safety is the top priority during this time of elevated wildfire risk.
Environment Canada attributes the heightened fire risk to an upper ridge that brought record-breaking heat last weekend and is expected to form over Alberta again, causing parched conditions and unseasonably high temperatures.
This weekend’s forecast predicts daily highs ranging from 25 to 30°C throughout central and northern Alberta, accompanied by brisk winds and the risk of thunderstorms.
As of Thursday night, Alberta is grappling with 92 wildfires, with 28 considered out of control. The closure of the parks and the warning against outdoor activities are crucial steps in preventing additional wildfires from sparking and potentially causing further damage to the ecosystem and endangering the lives of both residents and wildlife.
In recent years, the province has witnessed an increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires, which has led to widespread destruction and loss of life. Investing in proactive measures, such as the closure of parks during high-risk periods, is essential to help prevent the devastating impact of wildfires on communities and the environment.
Wildfires not only affect the natural landscape and wildlife habitats but also have significant economic consequences for the province, impacting tourism, forestry, and other industries. The Alberta government continues to work closely with firefighting agencies and communities to ensure that appropriate resources and strategies are in place to combat the growing threat of wildfires and to protect the public and the environment.
Provincial parks, recreation areas and campgrounds in areas where the fire danger is high are closed, including Young’s Point Provincial Park, Williamson Provincial Park, Smoke Lake Provincial Recreation Area, Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, Winagami Lake Provincial Park, Brazeau Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area, Two Lakes Provincial Park, Iosegun Lake Provincial Recreation Area, Waskahigan River Provincial Recreation Area, Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area, Minnow Lake Provincial Recreation Area, and Wolf Lake West Provincial Recreation Area.