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Residual wildfires from the 2023 season are on the rise this winter in Alberta

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb8,2024

Residual wildfires of the 2023 season are on the rise this winter in Alberta

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About twenty firefighters from Fox Lake try to put out remnants of the wildfire that led to the evacuation of the community last summer.


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Fox Lake firefighters continue to bear the brunt of a wildfire season that destroyed more than 2 million hectares in Alberta. More than twenty firefighters have been fighting for three weeks to put out the dormant fires in the ground.

At the start of February, a plane from the provincial wildfire agency, Alberta Wildfire, is scouring Alberta for peat fires that continue to burn, despite snow and sub-zero temperatures. freezing.

This is the case of that of Fox Lake, a community in the north of the province, near the border with the Territories of the Northwest.

There are always remnants of fires in places that burn for a long time, says Victoria Ostendorf. Last summer, more than 4,000 residents of Fox Lake and the surrounding area had to be evacuated due to the intensity of the fires.

The latter, who is an aerial forest fire information officer, explains that forest fires in winter are a known and natural phenomenon. However, this year, there are a lot more than usual.

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There are 16 residual fires from last season alone in this area,” Victoria Ostendorf said, looking around. The smoke surrounding him adds to the gravity of his words.

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Victoria Ostendorf believes that the milder winter and little precipitation contribute to the persistence of residual fires. She hopes that spring precipitation will help limit the consequences for the upcoming fire season.

This is why local firefighters do not hesitate to act as soon as a fire is detected.

The fire can go deep into the ground, especially in this area where there is a lot of peat moss. It can travel far and reappear as a wildfire.

As of this writing, there are 57 wildfires active in the province, 12 of which are fires that have started since the start of 2024, according to Alberta Wildfire.

Melissa Story, a spokesperson for the provincial agency, adds that this year there are 10 times more residual fires than the annual average, which is normally 6. Currently, 60 outbreaks come from fires that ignited in 2023.

The number is a far cry from the 1,088 wildfires that burned during the spring and summer of 2023, but it is incredibly high compared to what we usually observe in winter.

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Wildfire season officially begins March 1, but Melissa Story says Alberta Wildfire may recommend acting sooner , if needed.

Environment Canada is forecasting above-average temperatures for February and March, with lower precipitation, as Melissa Story explains. For forest fires, this is generally what determines the rest of the season.

She assures that the provincial fire fighting agency forest fires will continue to scan the territory from the air until all residual fires are extinguished.

With information by Trevor Wilson

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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