What is a Fire Ban?


Appliances with a valve

Natural gas or propane appliances with an on/off switch or valve can be used during a fire ban.

Appliances that have a valve but use solid fuel (e.g. pellets, charcoal or wood) cannot be used. Solid fuel appliances can produce sparks or embers. This is a concern if left unattended during a fire ban.

During a fire ban, if you plan to use your natural gas or propane appliance (e.g. fire table, fire bowl), please talk with your neighbours first and let them know that this type of appliance can be used during a ban. This will reduce the number of erroneous 9-1-1 calls received during a fire ban.

Prior to burning, burn permit holders must call the burn information line at 780-464-8464 or text the word "BURN" to 587-340-3696 to receive an immediate reply to find out if burning is allowed at that time.

Every day during a fire ban or leading up to one, fire weather values such as current humidity, current and forecasted wind speed, forecasted temperatures, recent precipitation and possibility of rain are reviewed and evaluated. This tool is called the Fire Weather Index System.

These factors, along with moisture content values of fire fuels such as grass, needles, and leaves on the ground, indicate the potential rate and intensity of fire spread. In combination, they help determine the hazard level in Strathcona County. The hazard level is one of the primary factors when deciding if a current fire ban should remain, or in times of no fire ban, if one should be declared. 

Other factors can play a role in determining when a fire ban is declared, including:

  • what is the risk of a fire getting out of control;
  • relation between temperature and humidity;
  • water restrictions or water bans; and/or
  • appropriate staffing and equipment due to other fires being fought within the County.

If conditions require, Strathcona County Emergency Services may declare a fire ban. No outdoor burning of any kind is allowed during a fire ban, including the use of fireworks. Cooking and recreational appliances that produce heat and can be turned off using a switch or knob can be used during a fire ban. This includes, but is not limited to, gas barbeques. Fire permits are temporarily suspended.

Fire bans are communicated to residents through the Strathcona County Alert system, newspaper, radio, road signs and Strathcona County's website. Other ways of communicating may include direct emails and other mediums.

If ATV'ing, please use extreme caution. Ensure the ATV is equipped with the spark arrestor.

Any person who ignites, fuels, supervises, maintains or permits an outdoor fire within the municipal boundaries of Strathcona County during a fire ban can be fined $1,000. Should the fire get out of control and emergency fire response is required, the person responsible for the fire can be charged the full firefighting costs. Call 9-1-1 to report a fire.

When a fire ban in Strathcona County is in place or is taken off, it will be announced at beta.albertafirebans.ca or on Strathcona County's burning information line at 780-464-8464. The UPDATEline (1-866-653-9959) will be used to announce the fire ban initially.

Visit Alberta Fire Bansto get up-to-date information on current fire bans, advisories and restrictions throughout the province.

William, a 9 year old Sherwood Park resident, explains what a fire ban is.

Fire Prevention and Investigation

Last updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017
Page ID: 38713