April 22nd, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 16
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Understanding Restrictions and Current Fire ban
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
With Covid-19 comes uncertainty in many areas.

One of those is what people are and aren’t allowed to do currently regarding outdoor activities like going for walks or bike rides.

For the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services, Jesse Fox, says the municipality is basing all their recommendation off of what Alberta Health Services is saying.

“Everything that were following is from Alberta Health Services recommendations. For our emergency or protective services, we can give advice but all that advice is based off of what AHS is saying.”

The best palce to find information on the pandemic from the municipality is on the municipal website.

Province wide information can also be found at alberta.ca

There is also a fire ban that is currently in place across the Forest Protection Area that includes the Crowsnest Pass.
continued below ...
Fox says that blanket bans aren’t uncommon for this area.

“Alberta Agriculture and Forestry have control of many different zones inside Alberta. One of those is the Calgary Forest Area or the Forest Protection Area, which we are very much integrated with in the Crowsnest Pass. To make it easy on everybody, we just follow suit with Forestry's recommendations for their fire bans. We do this every year in the municipality. This is not unique to Covid. When Forestry puts on, in any given year, an advisory, restriction or ban we follow suit with them.”
Fox also understands that people may be confused with the ban in the Pass currently but says it’s the broader area that’s being thought about right now.

“I know you look outside now and there's snow, so people are wondering why we'd have a fire ban. The purpose behind the ban as it sits right now, it's not so much the risk inside our municipality, it's to limit the amount of times we need to get our emergency services personnel together to go take care of an incident should one happen. In the Calgary Forest Area, they have a lot of dry grass in the area so they do typically blanket restrictions.”
continued below ...
According to Fox, there are two main reasons fire bans are put in place like this.

“One is simplicity for our municipality, and two is to lessen the chance of having an incident where all of our emergency services and Forestry's emergency services would have to assemble together to take care of that problem.”

The following information was taken from the Municipality’s Facebook Page:

The Province issued the fire and OHV ban on the Forest Protection Area (FPA) which encompasses a large portion of our Municipality including several of the urbanized areas. This has created a lot of confusion in the past, as residents don’t know where these lines are and across the road from one another, two houses have different rules. To alleviate this confusion, the Municipality mirrors the FPA restrictions.

In coordination with the province, a fire ban will be in effect for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and the Forest Protection Area surrounding the Crowsnest Pass April 15 at 2:00pm.

The ban will include an immediate suspension of all previously authorized fireworks and fire permits, and no new fireworks or fire permits will be issued until further notice. Backyard fire pits and/or burning activities are prohibited during this ban.

FROM ALBERTA WILDFIRE

To help reduce the risk of spring wildfires, Alberta Wildfire is taking a number of steps to help ensure the province can effectively focus resources where they are needed most, as part of our COVID-19 response plan.

Measures include:

+ A fire ban in the Forest Protection Area including the areas surrounding the Crowsnest Pass, provincial parks and protected areas
+ Recreational off-highway vehicle (OHV) ban on Crown land in the Forest Protection Area, including the areas surrounding the Crowsnest Pass

+ Fines are being doubled from $300 to $600 for non-compliance with a fire and from $600 to $1,200 for non-compliance with an OHV restriction
+ An additional $5 million investment to hire and train 200 high-quality firefighters to assist with provincial wildfire suppression.

+ $20 million in funding for community FireSmart initiatives, which helps reduce wildfire risks around at-risk communities in Alberta and help mitigate wildfire damages and losses.

Last year, 71 per cent of wildfires were human-caused and entirely preventable.
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April 22nd, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 16
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