Investigators have determined that an abandoned camp fire caused the Devil Head fire north of Canmorethat rose out of control earlier this month.
Agriculture and forest fire investigators are now working with the RCMP to identify and talk to climbers and other individuals who were in the area between August 30th and September 4th, the government said in a press release Monday.
“We can pinpoint the location of where the fire started. We know it was an abandoned campfire,” Melissa Story, a provincial intelligence officer with Alberta Wildfire, told CBC News.
“So we are asking for help from the public for the help of anyone who was in the area.”
According to Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, the vast majority of fires in Alberta are the result of human error.
“There is no excuse for leaving a campfire unattended. Before you leave, make sure it is completely extinguished: soak, stir and dive again,” Dreeshenwas was quoted as saying in the release.
“Last year, 71 percent of fires were caused by humans and were completely preventable. We need to do better.”
The fire increased to 676 acres in three days
After being discovered Sept. 4, a team of four aircraft, two helicopters and 14 ground firefighters were sent to fight the fire, which was in the forest reserve near the base of Blackrock Mountain, at the western end of Township Road 270.
The fire increased from 10 to 676 acres in about three days. Fire information officer Travis Fairweather toldCalgary Eyeopeneron September 7 which was the largest the province has seen in all year.
“This fire is probably the same size as any other fire combined for the whole year,” Fairweather said.
How to properly extinguish a campfire
Penalties for failing to put out a campfire increased in 2019 and could range from $ 600 to $ 840.
The current fine for an abandoned campfire is $ 600, though the government said in a statement that anyone held responsible for starting a fire may have to go to court to face additional charges and fines.
Anyone who has information on this or other cases can call the toll free line number is 833-999-3473.
The province included tips on how to properly put out a campfire on the run:
- Let the fire burn before you plan to put it out.
- Spread the coals inside the fire pit, then add water or loose dirt and stir.
- Expose any material still burning, then add more water and stir again until you no longer see smoke or steam.
- Repeat until the campfire is cool to the touch. You should not be able to feel any heat from the ash.
- Do not bury your campfire, as the embers may continue to burn and may reappear as a fire.
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