The County of Stettler fire ban has been lifted after several days of rainy, cold weather.
The province of Alberta also lifted its provincial fire ban for all of the province except for Wood Buffalo. While the Fort McMurray area received rain over the long weekend, the Beast still rages and has crossed the border into Saskatchewan.
In the Town of Stettler and the surrounding county territory, however, the fire risk has been downgraded to “low,” Fire Chief Mark Dennis, with Stettler Regional Fire and Rescue, said. County staff are busy taking down fire ban signs and he himself was out at Buffalo Lake changing the fire risk signs to low.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from people who think the ban is still on,” he said. “We’re working to educate about the change.”
With the lifting of the ban, firepits, campfires, charcoal barbecues and fireworks are now permitted, though Dennis urged caution.
“Campfires need a proper pit, firepits need screens (to prevent embers), and fires need to be three metres, or 10 feet, from property lines, structures or other combustibles,” he said.
While the fire department is not currently issuing fire permits — necessary for people to burn brush piles or demolish older buildings — the matter will be looked at later this week, he said. The local landfill, which had placed a moratorium on combustibles since its burn pile was full, will be burning its burnable trash this week before accepting new, he noted.
“If you’re going to use fireworks, be cautious,” Dennis said. “Use them appropriately.”