ALBERTA

15 Wildfires Burning In Alberta At Start Of Fire Season

04/23/2015 09:08 EDT | Updated 06/24/2015 05:59 EDT
USFWS/Southeast/Flickr
A wildfire at Florida Panther NWR. Photo by Josh O'Connor - USFWS.
EDMONTON - The fire season is off to a quick start in Alberta.

Alberta Wildfire Officer Geoffrey Driscoll says there's 15 wildfires burning in the province, four times more than at the same time last year.

He says the reason is people.

Besides poorly attended fires or cigarettes, Driscoll says vegetation ignited by off-road vehicles and ATVs are also sparking blazes.

He adds the fires caused by people are the most dangerous because they are near roads and communities.

Driscoll says there are currently 350 firefighters on the province's payroll, with 150 more slated to be hired in the coming weeks.

“Anywhere where the snow has left, it’s left behind a high fire hazard," Driscoll said.

“It’s left behind dry brown grass and leaves, and trees in those areas, we’re seeing if fires do start, they’re getting big fast, and there’s more fires starting.”

On Wednesday, strong winds spread a grass fire to two homes near Wetaskiwin. One house was destroyed and another severely damaged.

(CHED)

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