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Fire Permits

Did you know? Fire Permits are required by law.

Other than a campfire, any person lighting an open fire for burning debris or any other purpose must have a valid fire permit. Permits are required year round in that part of the County outside of the Forest Protection area. In the County permits may be requested by contacting the County Office. In the Forest Protection Area permits are required during the “Fire Season” which starts March 1st and ends each October 31st. Fire permits are free. Usually issued for a specific period of time, they may be cancelled before expiry date if the fire danger makes such action necessary. Permits for the Forest Protection area can be obtained by contacting Alberta Sustainable Resources at 780-675-8168.

Half of Athabasca County is covered by the provincial government’s Forest Protection Area

A fire permit is a legal document that conditionally authorizes a person to burn wood debris at a time specified on the permit. By obtaining a fire permit you have simply indicated your wish to burn. The responsibility for conducting a safe burn is yours.

Anyone who sets a fire under the authority of a permit must:

  • Keep the permit at the fire
  • Produce and show the permit to an officer upon request
  • Keep the fire under control; and
  • Extinguish the fire before expiration or upon cancellation of the permit, or obtain a renewal.

Fire Permits are required all year-long

Residents of the Athabasca County are required to obtain fire permits from the County before any burning takes place 12 months of the year.

Getting a free permit from the County is a way of making us aware of your desire to burn, lets our emergency services department know why they might be receiving calls for smoke in the air, and gives us the opportunity to help you ensure your burn is safe and effective.

In the County fire season is all year long and as a landowner, you are responsible for all costs to extinguish a fire which starts on your land.

Fire Permits for County Areas May be Obtained by contacting the following:

Athabasca County Office: (780) 675-2273
Grassland area, Travais Johnson: (780) 327-4357

Fire Permits for the Forest Protection Area

Those residents living in the Forest Protection Area (managed by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development), which includes Township 68 and all the land to the north, as well as the land on the western edge of the County, fall under a different set of fire permit guidelines set by the province.

Residents in those areas should contact Sustainable Resources Development regarding Fire Permit issuance (780) 675-8168.

Information on Fire Control

Before lighting any fire, a permit holder must take precautions to ensure that the fire is kept under control at all times.

Fires must not be lit when weather conditions are conductive to fires escaping or getting out of control. Contact your nearest fire guardian for specific advice. No one may deposit, discard, or leave any burning material in a place where it may ignite and result in a fire.

Information on Burning Barrels

Burn with extreme care or haul debris to a transfer/landfill site.
The burning barrel should be in good condition.
Ground clean and maintained for 3 meters.
Help combustion. Steel rods or pipes will hold burning material up and give a better burn. Draft holes not larger than 5 mm in diameter.
Mesh size of screen not larger than 7 mm.
Weights to hold screen on barrel.
Keep fire fighting tools on hand and never leave your fire unattended.

What Can I Burn?

Burnable Debris means all inflammable waste other than prohibited debris and includes but is not limited to grass and weeds, leaves and tree pruning, brush and fallen trees on newly cleared land, telephone poles and wooden materials from the construction or demolition of buildings that do not contain wood preservatives, solid waste from tree harvesting operations, solid waste from post and pole operations that does not contain wood preservatives. Prohibited Debris means any inflammable waste that when burned may result in the release to the atmosphere of dense black smoke or toxic substances. This includes but is not limited to animal manure, pathological waste, non-wooden material, combustible material, tires/rubber/plastic, used oil.

Brush Piles

Ensure debris or windrows resulting from land clearing are no more than 60 meters long. Leave an 8-meter break between each 60 meter length. Ensure windrows are at least 25 meters away from unclear land or standing hazardous fuels. Keep fire fighting tools on hand and never leave your fire unattended.

When your burn is completed, speed up final extinguishing by dispersing any smoldering ash or accumulation of burned debris. Fires can remain dormant in large piles for long periods and usually surface when fire hazard conditions are extreme.

Persistent hot spots, left to burn out, must be well guarded. When the weather gets dry, any holdover fire must be put out. Continue to check completed burning projects to be sure no holdover fires are present.