It is warm, the air is smoke filled and much of the province is under a fire ban, but as we head into the long weekend, Cochranites can plan to gather with friends and family around the fire in their backyards. 

Shawn Polley, fire chief of Cochrane Fire Services said unless there are drastic changes to the weather, he's not planning to implement a fire ban for the Victoria Day long weekend.

"We actually really try to use science instead of personal opinion to drive the fire danger rating. Right now I'm not currently anticipating making any changes moving from advisory to restriction."

A fire advisory came into effect on May 1. Under this advisory, open fires are permitted, but residents are urged to exercise extreme caution and soak the surrounding area with water before using fire pits.

There are two local weather stations as well as Environment Canada that Polley monitors daily.

"We look at the daily highs as well as the relative humidity, and then we formulate whether we move the fire hazard or fire danger rating up or down." 

Polley said the smoke in the air is helping with the humidity. 

"The smoke cover is actually creating nice recovery opportunities for us with the relative humidity quite high in the morning hours. You'll see that in the dew on the grass."

All of Rocky View County is under a fire ban. During a fire ban, all burning and fireworks permits are suspended, and burning is banned, with the following exceptions:

  • Indoor household fireplaces
  • Camp stoves (properly attended)
  • Barbecues (charcoal briquettes, propane, or natural gas)
  • Wood pellet grills
  • Propane/natural gas fire pit
  • Oil well flaring

For those heading towards the mountains, the Forest Protection Area is under a complete fire ban. Canmore, Lake Louise and Banff National Park are all under a fire advisory. 

Foothills County is currently under fire restriction while Calgary, Strathmore, Crossfield, and Wheatland County are all under a fire advisory while all of Mountain View County are under a fire ban.

The city of Airdrie is currently under a fire restriction. 

A list of current fire bans and advisories can be found here.

-With files from Connor May