Proposed amendments to legislation would substantially hike fines for people or companies that cause forest fires by ignoring fire bans or improperly extinguishing campfires.

The changes are contained in Bill 24, the proposed Forest and Prairie Protection Amendment Act.

Maximum fines under the amendments would jump from $5,000 to $1 million for corporations and up to $100,000 for individuals

Companies could be fined up to $10,000 for not having a proper wildfire plan and inadequate firefighting equipment on site.

"We know that far too many wildfires are triggered by human activity," Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier said Monday. 

"In fact, about 70 per cent  of wildfires in the last five years have been linked to human causes. So we need to take proactive steps."

Officials believe the May wildfire that forced more than 80,000 people from their homes in and around Fort McMurray was caused by human activity.

The amendments would make it easier for the government to restrict the use of off-road vehicles (which can spark fires) during dry periods, and restrict the use of drones, which can get in the way of water bombers.

The changes would also move the official start of fire season from April 1 to March 1. The government has already been using the earlier date for the past five years.