As March continues, the recent warm weather has melted almost all of the snow that blanketed the ground just two weeks ago. Fortunately, the weather forecast calls for some snow over the next week… but it doesn’t look like a lot. Swan Hills could be in for some very dry conditions in the surrounding forested areas in the coming weeks, a good month before the region would typically begin to experience such circumstances.

The wildfire danger for the Whitecourt Forest Area is rated as low as of the most recent update (March 6), but upon speaking with a representative from the Whitecourt Forest Area Office on March 19, they said the current conditions would be considered moderate. This representative had some good news, though: the expected precipitation over the next week is expected to bring the wildfire danger rating for the area back down to a low level by the end of the weekend. According to the most recent update, two wildfires were burning in the Whitecourt Forest Area, both of which were carryover fires from the 2023 season and are under control.

The Slave Lake Forest Area’s wildfire danger rating is moderate. Seven wildfires have been reported in this area since January 1, 2024, with a total burned area of 217.55 ha, as well as eight wildfires from the 2023 season that remain under control. Two wildfires are currently burning, both of which are deemed under control. SWF004 is roughly 10 km northeast of Snipe Lake, and SWF005 is about 13 km southeast of Kinuso. This forest area is also under a fire advisory:

  • Existing fire permits remain valid, but permit holders must adhere to the safe burning conditions specified on the permit.
  • New fire permits for non-essential heavy fuel burning activities, such as machine-piled brush piles and windrows, will not be granted.
  • New fire permits will be considered on a case-by-case basis, specifically for essential burning purposes.
  • Burning without a valid permit is prohibited, except for campfires.

Overall, the wildfire situation in both Forest Areas around Swan Hills is looking good as we head into spring break for the students at Swan Hills School.

The Grizzly Gazette hopes everyone has an excellent spring break and a wonderful Easter.