Fire advisories and bans blanket Alberta as dry conditions persist

Officials are reminding people in rural areas surrounding Calgary to clean out the brush from their yards to help prevent the spread of wildfires.

Crews have been battling several grass fires in northern Alberta in recent days, some of which prompted evacuations and road closures in several areas, including Bruderheim, Lamont County, Chipman, Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona County.

In the southern part of the province, fire bans are in effect in Mountain View County and Kneehill County.

Rocky View County and Chestermere are both under a fire advisory, even though there are no active wildfires.

In Redwood Meadows, which borders Rocky View County southwest of Calgary, fire chief Rob Evans is reminding people there clear out old deadfall and dead grass.

“That’s really where the big danger lies, is the deadfall and stuff that can support a ground fire, and keep a fire going. If it can’t get into the trees, then we are already way ahead,” he said.

May is typically the driest month of the year in Alberta’s forested areas.

“The dust coming up is just incredible in the field. It’s so dry that that little bit of rain that we had the other day will certainly help with residential lawns and greening them up. But overall, it didn’t really do very much at all,” Evans said.

There are many fire bans and advisories in place throughout Alberta, with specific restrictions varying by district.

Fire advisories

In southern Alberta, fire advisories are in effect in:

  • Rocky View County.
  • Chestermere.
  • Starland.
  • Municipal District of Acadia.
  • Wheatland County.
  • County Newell.
  • Vulcan County.
  • County of Forty Mile No. 8.

Fines for violating fire restrictions range from $172 to $575 per violation.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier says people need to obey the province’s fire advisories and bans.

“It’s really all up to the rest of us, every citizen in Alberta should be careful, making sure that we’re not that person that starts that wildfire,” he said.

The province has an operating budget for wildfire management of $130 million. This covers the preparation for wildfire season, including training, opening tanker bases and towers, prevention and detection activities and hiring seasonal staff, the province says.

Additionally, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s FireSmart program, a joint effort among government, industry and community leaders aimed at preventing wildfires, has a budget of $15 million for this year.


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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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