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RCMP investigate string of spring-time forest fires in Northern Alberta

RCMP say wildfires between Anzac and Lac La Biche earlier this year were deliberately set.


A specialized unit of the provincial RCMP is investigating a string of fires they say were deliberately set between Lac La Biche an Anzac in April and May of this year.

The Alberta RCMP Forestry Crime Unit, in collaboration with Alberta Wildfire, is investigating after several fires were reported, between April 22 and May 22, along Highway 881, between Anzac and Lac La Biche.

"Thankfully, all fires were quickly contained without the loss of structures in the area," says RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Troy Savinkoff. "The investigation has determined that these fires were set deliberately."

As the investigation continues, RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance with any information relating to suspicious activity during the time period. Anyone with information can contact the Lac La Biche RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Fire hazard

At the time of  fires, the area was experiencing extreme fire hazard conditions in what many fire and forestry officials were calling on of the driest spring seasons on record.

According to fire-mapping from Alberta Wildfire, more than 60 fires — most of them extinguished before they grew to be larger than a tenth of a hectare — have taken place within the Janvier community since the 2023 fire season began. The Lac La Biche Forest area has recorded 168 fires, that have burned up almost 8,000 hectares of land.

Going into the new week, Alberta Wildfire crews in the Lac La Biche Forest are continuing to battle 13 active fires. One of the largest is a 4,800 hectare blaze 10 kilometres northeast of Winefred Lake. That fire, which was first reported on May 29, is classified as 'being held.' Another large blaze that is currently classified as 'out of control' has burned 4,900 hectares in the northeast part of the Primrose Air Weapons Range.

The Alberta Wildfire fire hazard for the Lakeland area going into the new week is set at High. A Fire Advisory is in place for the portion of the Lac La Biche Forest Area located north of Janvier. No new fire permits will be issued for the area.



Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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