Forest Fires

FOR INFORMATION ON THE 2016 ALBERTA FIRE SEASON:

Please see the Wildfire Status Map for current wildfires in Alberta.

For information on Fire Ban areas, please see Alberta Fire Bans website.

FOREST FIRES can consist of both wildfires and prescribed burns.

Wildfires can occur in the summer months in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The smoke from these fires can affect the health of individuals differently based on the duration of smoke exposure, their age, and health.

Prescribed burns are commonly carried out every spring and summer in pre-determined areas around Alberta. They are most commonly carried out for reasons which include the production of more grazing land for local animals, eliminating pests and limiting the damage done by any future "natural" wildfires. Prescribed burns are carried out very carefully to limit the amounts of airborne pollutants released to the atmosphere.

Health Effects of Smoke

Smoke is made up of small particles, gases and water vapour. Water vapour makes up the majority of smoke and the remainder includes carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, irritant volatile organic compounds, air toxics and very small particles. Please refer to our fire pit burning section for more information on these compounds.

Both wildfires and prescribed burns emit high levels of particulate matter and other pollutants which can affect people’s breathing, especially in those who suffer from breathing conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

If you have lung concerns, you should limit physical activity if you see smoke or know of a fire in your area. If you are advised to stay indoors, keep your windows closed.

For more information on your local air quality, please refer to our Outdoor Air Quality page and the Government of Alberta’s AQHI current conditions and forecasts. 

Provincial/Territorial Fire Resources

Alberta:

Prescribed Burns - Government of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development

Wildfire Status – Government of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development

NWT:

Forest Fire Smoke – Northwest Territories Health and Social Services

Page Last Updated: 21/03/2017