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Increased Risk of Wildfire During Drier Seasons

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Release Date: April 26, 2022


The wildfire season in Alberta is from March 1 to October 31. The oil and gas industry is susceptible to fire across all regions of the province, with most industry-related fires occurring from April to June. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) statistics from 2006 to 2018 identify industry flaring operations and inadequately extinguished old burn and brush piles as the main causes of brush and grass fires. As we approach the drier seasons, we remind licensees that the risk of brush and grass fires increases significantly. 

The AAF uses a tiered system to restrict activities that may cause wildfires in the Forest Protection Area of Alberta. The restrictions include fire bans, fire restrictions, off-highway vehicle (OHV) restrictions (OHVs are a potential fire ignition source), and fire advisories.

Proactive fire control measures should be in place, including acquiring and maintaining fire suppression equipment and having an emergency response plan in place that includes wildfire prevention and preparedness and response. Emergency planning must address FireSmart and fire prevention issues. Should an emergency arise, licensees should communicate with local fire departments to coordinate the mutual aid response.

Oil and gas facility flare systems are a fire ignition source. Carbon buildup on the flare tip can break loose, fall to the ground, and start a fire. Operators need to adhere to a regular preventive maintenance schedule for flare stacks and regularly examine the flares for carbon or soot buildup around the flare tip. 

Approved burn and brush piles should be separated to verify they are fully extinguished. Carefully inspect the area in the days and weeks after the burn is complete to ensure there is no possibility of reignition.

Operators and licensees must adhere to AER Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting and Alberta’s Forest and Prairie Protection Act

Please refer to the following information sources:

For more information on this bulletin or questions, contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 403 297-8311 (1-855-297-8311 toll free) or by email at @email.