The recent warm weather enjoyed by Houston residents has brought an increased danger of wildfires.
The Northwest Fire Centre danger class for Houston is rated at “high danger (4).”
Grassy Plains was rated at “high danger” (4) as of 4:20 p.m. on May 9. It was at “moderate danger” (3) on May 8.
The scale ranges from 1 – “very low danger” – to 5 – “extreme danger.”
Burns Lake was at “moderate danger (3).”
The Fire Danger Rating in front of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) office on Highway 16 this week raised the level on the sign to “moderate” from “low”.
A high rating indicates “forest fuels are very dry and the fire risk is serious,” Carolyn Bartos, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre told Black Press.
“New fires may start easily, burn vigorously, and challenge fire suppression efforts. Extreme caution must be used in any forest activities. Open burning and industrial activities may be restricted.”
A moderate rating implies “Forest fuels are drying and there is an increased risk of surface fires starting. Carry out any forest activities with caution,” she said.
The raised danger levels come as campfires were still permitted as of May 9 in the Nadina Zone, the FLNRORD office confirmed. Campfires are the exception to the Category 2 Open Burn Prohibition in effect for the zone in the Northwest Fire Centre.
However, people lighting campfires must ensure they have access to eight litres of water or a shovel during the time the campfire is lit. When finished, the fire must be completely extinguished and ashes be cool to the touch.
If a campfire escapes and starts a wildfire, offenders can be charged with $100,000-$1 million and face a sentence of up to one year in prison.