There are three levels of fire bans as designated in County of Newell Bylaw 1958-19:
- A Fire Advisory – Fires are allowed, but public warning advising of extreme caution is issued. This level is a warning and may be upgraded to a Fire Restriction or Fire Ban if conditions do not improve.
- A Fire Restriction – All fires including: low hazard (family style fireworks), exploding targets, burning barrels, charcoal briquettes, sky lanterns, and incinerators are not allowed. All existing Fire Permits are immediately suspended, and no new permits will be issued.
The following fires are allowed during a Fire Restriction period:
- approved gas or propane cooking appliances;
- portable propane fire pits;
- recreational fire pits; campfires burning within designated fire containment units located within approved campgrounds; and,
- wood pellet fully contained smokers
- A Fire Ban – No fires are allowed including: recreational fire pits, fireworks, exploding targets, burning barrels, charcoal briquettes, wood pellet based fully contained smokers and sky lanterns.
The following can be operated during fire ban periods.
- approved gas or propane cooking appliances.
- portable propane fire pits.
What Can You Expect During a Fire Ban
Fire Bans do not come out of the blue. When determining whether to declare a Fire Ban we look at levels of recent precipitation, future weather forecasts, water shortages or restrictions, availability of firefighting crews, equipment and apparatus, the overall fire danger including fire load and abundance of fuels, and fine fuel moisture content, the amount or increase in recent outside fires and recommendations from the local Fire Chiefs. Fire Bans are put on for the entire County of Newell, not just for certain areas. If there has been little to no moisture within the County of Newell as a whole and/or a Fire Advisory has been imposed and moisture conditions have not improved, you can expect a Fire Ban in the near future. The Ban will not be lifted just because of one moisture event. Overall conditions need to improve for the long range. When Fire Bans are implemented the general public is notified as follows:
- "A Fire Ban" - Several Fire Ban in Effect signs are posted at entrances to the County of Newell; a news release is sent out to the local media outlets; ads may be run in the local media; and, notification on the Alberta Fire Bans website is posted. Notification will also be posted on the County website and all social media accounts.
- "A Fire Restriction" - Refer to "A Fire Ban" mentioned above.
- "A Fire Advisory" - A news release is sent to the local media; ads may be run in the local media; and, a notification on the Alberta Fire Bans website is posted. Notification will also be posted on the County website and all social media channels.
When an "A Fire Ban" or an "A Fire Restriction" is implemented, all existing Fire Permits are immediately canceled and no new permits will be issued during the life of the ban. All existing fires need to be immediately extinguished. Exceptions are not permitted. Once the Fire Ban is lifted, new permits can then be issued.
County of Newell Fire Bans do not affect the City of Brooks, Town of Bassano, Village of Duchess, Village of Rosemary, Provincial Parks or First Nations Reserves located within the County. Hamlets and Municipal Parks located within the County of Newell are controlled within the Fire Bans.
Now you know, so burn safe, use a good neighbour policy and do not let your fire get out of hand, as a fire can double in size every 30 seconds.