Fire Guardians & Fire Permits
Fire Permits Are Required by Law
March 1 - October 31
Other than a campfire, any person lighting an open fire for burning debris or any other purpose must have a valid fire permit.
Permits may be obtained from your local fire guardian. Fire permits are free. Usually issued for a specific period of time, they may be cancelled before expiry date if the fire danger makes such action necessary.
View the County of Wetaskiwin Fire Protection Zones map (PDF).
Forest Protection Area (FPA):
Parts of the County of Wetaskiwin fall within the Rocky Mountain House Forest Protection Area.
From March 1 - October 31, all burning activities in the FPA, excluding campfires, require a fire permit. Alberta Wildfire is the governing jurisdiction for this area for burn permits and fire ban status.
This includes lands located West of Range Road 73, South of Township Road 454, and those lands located South of Township Road 460 and East of Range Road 55 to Range Road 42.
If you are within the FPA, you are required to obtain a Provincial Fire Permit from Alberta Agriculture & Forestry at 403-845-8250 or view more information here.
View the FPA map.
Permit RequirementsFire permits are required during fire season which starts March 1 and ends October 31. There are however, provisions for fire season to be reduced or extended in duration if the risk or dangers of forest fires exist. Any changes to the normal fire season will be announced in the news media and on the County website.
RegulationsA fire permit is a legal document which conditionally authorizes a person to burn wood debris at a time specified on the permit. By obtaining a fire permit you have simply indicated your wish to burn. The responsibility for conducting a safe burn is yours.
Anyone who sets a fire under the authority of a permit must:
- Keep the permit at the fire
- Produce and show the permit to an officer upon request
- Keep the fire under control
- Extinguish the fire before expiration or upon cancellation of the permit, or obtain a renewal
- Fire Control
- Burning Barrels
- Ash Disposal
- Brush Piles
- Prohibited Debris
- Burnable Debris
- Stubble Burning
- Burning Near Roadways
- Before lighting any fire, a permit holder must take precautions to ensure that the fire is kept under control at all times.
- Fires must not be lit when weather conditions are conductive to fires escaping or getting out of control. Contact your nearest fire guardian for specific advice.
- No one may deposit, discard or leave any burning material in a place where it may ignite and result in a fire.
- Burn with extreme care or haul debris to a transfer / landfill site.
- The burning barrel should be in good condition.
- The ground must be clean and maintained for 3 meters.
- Combustion can be prevented by using steel rods or pipes to hold burning material up and provide a better burn. Ensure the draft holes are not larger than 5 millimetres in diameter.
- When burning screens, the mesh cannot be larger than 7 millimetres .
- Be sure to have weights to hold your screens on the barrel.
- Be sure to keep fire fighting tools on hand and never leave your fire unattended.
- Be sure to place ash in a metal container and soak with water before burning.
- After burning, let the ash sit for 2-3 days before disposing in a pit.
- No more than 5 piles are allowed to be burning or smouldering at any given time.
- Ensure debris or windrows resulting from land clearing are no more than 60 meters long. Leave an 8 meter break between each 60 meter length.
- Ensure windrows are at least 25 meters away from unclear land or standing hazardous fuels.
- Keep fire fighting tools on hand and never leave your fire unattended.
Prohibited debris includes any inflammable waste that when burned may result in the release to the atmosphere of dense black smoke office odors or toxic substances. This includes but is not limited to:
- Animal manure
- Combustible material
- Nonwooden material
- Pathological waste
- Tires, rubber or plastic
- Used oil
Burnable Debris includes all inflammable waste other than prohibited debris and includes but is not limited to:
- Brush and fallen trees on newly cleared land
- Grass and weeds
- Leaves and tree pruning waste
- Solid waste from post and pole operations that does not contain wood preservatives
- Solid waste from tree harvesting operations
- Telephone poles and wooden materials from the construction or demolition of buildings that do not contain wood preservatives
Stubble BurningYou can cut down on your chances of needing fire rescue assistance by following these precautions:
- Be sure your fire guards are wide enough and clear so a fire cannot cross over (recommend a 30m buffer).
- Be alert for spot fires started by sparks from your fire. Large fires can carry sparks over a considerable distance.
- Have your tools ready at the fire site and enough portable water depending on the size of your fire. Even for a small single pile you should have a shovel and water.
- If you have many brush piles, ignite only as much as you can keep under control. Check to see if any neighbors will be available in case you need extra help and equipment.
- Don't start to burn under windy, gusty conditions. Whenever possible, plan your burn for early morning or later in the day. This is when the temperatures are lower and the humidity is higher.
- When your burn is completed, speed up final extinguishing by dispersing any smouldering ash or accumulation of burned debris. Fires can remain dormant in large piles for long periods and usually surface when fire hazard conditions are extreme.
- Persistent hot spots, left to burn out, must be well guarded. When the weather gets dry, any holdover fire must be put out. Continue to check completed burning projects to be sure no holdover fires are present.
- You require a permit to burn stubble, this can be obtained from the Director of Agricultural Services at 780-361-6226. Fire Guardians cannot issue these permits.
Burning Near RoadwaysIf burning by a primary or secondary highway with a possibility of smoke crossing the road, it is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure smoke warning signs are posted on the road. Signs can be obtained by calling Alberta Highway Services at 780-352-2078 (Westerose East) or 780-848-2357 (Westerose West).
Also, when burning by a primary or secondary highway, a permit may be required from other agency representatives such as Alberta Transportation (In Alberta contact 780-310-0000). Be sure your site inspection involves all responsible representatives and be aware that the representing agency for the affected section of roadway has the right to refuse the issuance of the permit for reasons of public safety.
If burning by a County road with a possibility of smoke crossing the road, it is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure smoke warning signs are posted on the road. Signs can be made by the permit holder.