Summer wildfires are commonplace in Alberta, but this year’s unusually warm, dry spring produced an especially difficult season. Fires sprung up earlier than usual and grew larger and burned longer than normal. They also encroached on farmland where they destroyed pastures and fences and depleted food and water sources for livestock as farmers scrambled to repair the damage.
Jody Wacowich, executive director of AgSafe Alberta, expects dry conditions may be the norm in the near future, which makes fire safety and awareness a priority on the province’s farms. “That’s something we have to plan for” she said. “At this time of year, we don’t have that green grass growing yet. Everything is dry and combustible. The wind picks up a spark and a fire can go for miles before anyone can do anything about it.”