A provincial fire ban prohibiting all open fires, including campfires in campgrounds, is now in place in parts of southern Alberta, including the City of Lethbridge, the County of Warner, the MD of Taber, Town of Magrath and Cardston County.
The ban covers the Calgary Forest Area, which extends south of Highway 532 along the mountains and foothills to the northern boundary of Waterton Lakes National Park.
“The continued hot and dry weather across much of southern Alberta has created an extreme fire hazard,” said Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier while announcing the ban on Sunday. “That’s why we are taking these steps to help reduce the risk of human-caused fires.”
The ban builds on the fire restrictions that were put into place in the same region of the province earlier this week. Under the ban, all fire permits are suspended and no new fire permits will be issued. The use of fireworks and exploding targets is also prohibited. Gas or propane stoves, or barbecues and portable propane fire pits, are still allowed during the ban.
If you are found to be burning during a fire ban in Alberta, you may be subject to a $287 fine and responsible for the costs of fighting the fire.
Raising suicide awareness
Local biker Russell Olson is attempting to raise funds in a unique way for suicide awareness and prevention on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
“I bought a new 18-foot enclosed trailer,” explains Olson, “and in vinyl on the sides of the trailer it says: ‘Supporting Suicide Awareness and Suicide Prevention.’ It enables any business to donate either $300 or $500, depending on the size of the logo, to have their logo advertised on this trailer, and show support for what we do. Money generated in Canadian funds will stay in southern Alberta with the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, and the money that is generated in U.S. will be donated to a group called ‘Voices of Hope,’ which is a Great Falls chapter for suicide prevention and awareness.”
Individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide can also contact Olson, and he will put their names on the other side of his trailer as a personal tribute to those who have been lost.
“I have lost good friends and loved ones over the last several years to suicide,” says Olson. “It bothers me they are not here, and we have the names of a lot of those individuals on the opposite side of this trailer. It just keeps them a little closer to our heart than not remembering them.”
Olson’s plan is to drive the trailer and park at a number of public events both in Montana and Alberta to get the word out as best as he can.
Pharmasave recycling old drugs
Pharmasave is accepting unused, expired or unwanted drugs and medications throughout August.
Pharmacists help to reduce the volume of prescription drugs available for misuse and inform their patients of the harms associated with improper use of prescription drugs. For a safe, responsible and environmentally friendly solution, take your unused or expired medications to your local Pharmasave for disposal.
Pharmasave will accept drugs of all kinds including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, topical antibiotic and antifungal creams (in their original containers), natural health products that are taken orally such as vitamins, minerals, herbal products, probiotics and homeopathic medicines. Visit your local Pharmasave and speak with its pharmacists about how to dispose of medications safely and responsibly.
Lethbridge hits record high
So, Lethbridge, how about this heat? The current heat wave across southern Alberta went out with a bang after Lethbridge hit a record-breaking 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for a few hours Friday afternoon.
According to Environment Canada, the average high for Aug. 10 is 26.2 C. The record high for Aug. 10 was set in 2003 when the temperature hit 37.6 C while Friday’s 40 C also tied the all-time record high for Lethbridge, which was originally set on July 12, 1886.
Environment Canada issued heat warnings and an air quality statement Friday due to smoke from B.C. wildfires.
Due to the heat, people in affected areas are asked to consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day; take frequent breaks from the heat; drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated; and not to leave anyone or pet inside a closed vehicle for any length of time.