Fire restrictions widened to include northwestern Alberta

Warm, dry conditions mixed with wind have elevated the fire risk in the northwest part of Alberta to extreme, prompting a fire restriction for areas from Whitecourt to the Northwest Territories, and west to the BC border.

Propane and gas barbeques still allowed

A firefighter douses a hot spot. (Government of Alberta)

Warm, dry conditions mixed with wind have elevated the fire risk in the northwest part of Alberta to extreme, prompting a fire restriction for areas from Whitecourt to the Northwest Territories, and west to the BC border. 

Campers, fear not. Fires are still allowed at campsites, but nowhere else. 

The ban does not include Fort McMurray. 

"The fire hazard is high to extreme all over the province that means that if fires do happen they can get big really fast," said Geoffrey Driscoll, wildfire information officer. 

The fire restrictions in northwest Alberta go into effect Thursday at noon. 

Edmonton fire ban

The city of Edmonton is currently under a fire ban. 

That means no firepits in backyards, cookstoves in parks or fireworks in the city.

Platoon fire Chief Gregg Menard said it's too dangerous to have sparks flying while the conditions are ripe for a big blaze.

"Anyone who breaks the fire ban may be subject to fines, or charges if they cause a fire or a safety issue. And this may include covering the cost of our emergency services," he said.

The current fire rating is extreme, a classification calculated using temperature, wind, humidity and moisture on the ground.

Propane or gas barbeques are still allowed.

At this point, there's no timeline for when the ban will be lifted in the northern part of the province or in Edmonton. 

There are currently 18 fires burning in Alberta, the largest in Edson at about 750 hectares.

One fire, burning about 100 kilometres northwest of Slave Lake, was considered out of control as of Thursday morning. Police believe it was started by a 35-year-old Peace River man who lit his truck on fire in a ditch on Highway 88.

There are five helicopters and 68 firefighters on scene. 

The man was arrested and charged with arson. 

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