If your May Long Weekend plans involve camping like so many Albertans, you may want to take a look at this list.
Alberta’s government has closed a number of provincial parks and recreation areas and is asking Albertans to voluntarily restrict their recreation activities on Crown land in northwest Alberta due to the wildfire risk.
The province says the fire danger is “extreme” in Northern Alberta, with hot, dry conditions expected to persist through the coming days. Throughout the province, there is wildfire risk, with a moderate to high fire danger present in the southern Rockies.
Additionally, a fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions are in place for the Forest Protection Area.
Provincial parks, recreation areas, and campgrounds in areas where there is a high fire danger have been closed. Fire bans are in place for more than 280 provincial parks and recreation areas. According to the province, those with reservations in these areas will receive a refund.
Here are the closures that have been announced:
- Young’s Point Provincial Park
- Williamson Provincial Park
- Smoke Lake Provincial Recreation Area
- Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
- Winagami Lake Provincial Park
- Brazeau Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
- Two Lakes Provincial Park
- Iosegun Lake Provincial Recreation Area
- Waskahigan River Provincial Recreation Area
- Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area
- Minnow Lake Provincial Recreation Area
- Wolf Lake West Provincial Recreation Area
Several other sites are being monitored, and more closures could be announced over the next few days. The list of closures will be constantly updated online.
Crown land camping is another popular May Long activity for Albertans. However, due to the wildfire risk, the province asks that activity be restricted in the Edson, Grande Prairie, High Level, Peace River, Slave Lake, and Whitecourt forest areas. This also applies to the Rocky Mountain House Forest Area located north of Highway 11.
In these areas, outdoor recreation, including backcountry camping, mountain biking, and hiking, is not recommended. This is because some sites have been directly affected by wildfires, while others are at risk due to their proximity to active wildfires and forecasted conditions.
Conservation officers will increase patrols to ensure compliance with the current wildfire-related restrictions, closures, and fire bans. Fines for not complying with restrictions or fire bans could result in a pretty hefty fine.
Currently, there are 92 active wildfires in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area, and 25 are out of control.