Press Release - Fire Ban issued for the Town of Whitecourt
In consideration of current and forecasted extreme weather conditions, effective at 12:01 a.m. on June 30, 2021, all burning will be suspended within the Town of Whitecourt. No fire permits will be issued, and all existing fire permits will be suspended until conditions improve in the Town and Whitecourt Forest Area.
The fire ban includes the following but is not limited to:
- Backyard firepits,
- Campground firepits,
- All open burning,
- Consumer fireworks,
- Flame propelled floating lanterns,
- Charcoal briquettes, including meat smokers,
- Turkey fryers,
- Tiki torches.
Allowed for use during the fire ban:
- CSA approved or ULC certified gas or propane barbeques used for cooking,
- Propane and natural gas fire pits,
- Catalytic or infrared-style heaters,
- Electric or propane meat smokers.
The fire ban will remain in effect until conditions improve.
The operation of Off Highway Vehicles (OHV) within the Town of Whitecourt is prohibited under Off Highway Vehicle Bylaw 1138 which prohibits OHV use within Town boundaries between April 1 and November 30 annually. Penalties for contravening Bylaw 1138 range from monetary fines to OHV seizure. OHVs can start wildfires so operators are encouraged to check OHVs frequently to ensure hotspots are free of debris, to make sure mufflers and spark arrestors are working properly, and be familiar with any OHV restrictions in the Whitecourt Forest Area where the operation of any OHV, for recreational purposes, is prohibited.
Due to extreme weather conditions, the Town of Whitecourt’s Canada Day fireworks display will be postponed.
“While we are disappointed about rescheduling, the extreme heat and dry conditions are not conducive to a fireworks display,” stated Whitecourt Mayor Maryann Chichak. “I know many of us were looking forward to this celebration as a kick off to summer and an easing of public health restrictions – but it’s just not safe. The current fire conditions are equivalent to those experienced in 1998, when the Virginia Hills fire occured west of Whitecourt, and conditions are expected to exceed the 1998 levels over the next two days.”
All other activities planned as part of local Canada Day celebrations will continue, such as the Community Art Project Display and Canada Day decorating contest. For information please visit the event page on Facebook. The Town intends to reschedule the display to a later date this summer, and will inform the community of the new date when it is determined.
Updates on the fire ban will be posted on www.whitecourt.ca and on Whitecourt’s Facebook page. For details on fire bans across Alberta, visit www.albertafirebans.ca.