Fire Ban in Effect at Many Alberta Campgrounds
The sweeping fire ban and scattered campground liquor controls aren’t expected to dissuade the masses from time-honored May long weekend trudges into the wild.
But with the threat of wildfire a heightened concern across Alberta, campers will be under the watchful eye of enforcement officers ensuring compliance with the fire ban enacted this week in the face of tinder dry conditions that blanket much of the province, the Calgary Sun reported.
“There is a fire ban on right now, so obviously there is concern with our forested areas,” said Janet Harding of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
More than 25,000 are expected to hit provincial campgrounds alone with untold thousands more set to invade national sites and backcountry.
Teams of Alberta sheriffs, Fish and Wildlife officers, conservation officers and commercial vehicle inspectors will team up with the RCMP to keep the roads safe.
Harding said the focus of the their deployment will be the Eastern Slopes.
The popular Waiparous and McLean Creek recreational areas, once premier getaway spots for legions of off-roaders, will see increased RCMP patrols and Alberta Check Stops, said Constable Mike Warman of the Cochrane detachment.
Those areas routinely suffered environmental degradation under foot and tread of thousands of revellers before the province cracked down, severely restricting motorized access.
The fire ban, enacted Monday and in effect until further notice, prohibits lighting outdoor fires, fireworks and the use of portable campfires and extends from just outside of Waterton Lakes National park in the south to Manning in the north and east to Fort McMurray.
The ban does not include Waterton Lakes National Park, nor does it apply to “engineered fire receptacles” in designated provincial camping and recreation areas.
Rain may provide some relief to the parched prairies by way of showers expected Thursday and Friday, said Cindy Yu, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. Those should taper off Saturday, giving way to sunshine on Sunday and mixed sun and cloud Monday.
In spite of the weather, some campsites are sure to remain dry.
The province and Banff National Park has once again enacted liquor bans, which have proven more popular than some might think.
“People gravitate towards some of the campsites that have liquor bans in place,” said Susan Johnson of Tourism, Parks and Recreation.
“There’s nothing like being stuck beside partiers when you’ve got a 2-year-old.”
Those looking to snag a spot at a provincial campground this weekend are advised to reserve through Alberta Parks’ online registry, where they’ve quickly filled up.
Campers have logged more than 35,000 reservations on reserve.albertaparks.ca since February and are booking solidly through July and the August long weekend.