Edmonton Fire Rescue Services truck.
File Photo / Edmonton Journal
A fire restriction prohibiting open burning and fireworks has been issued in Edmonton as hot and dry conditions are poised to escalate throughout the week, say officials.The restriction — not a full ban — was put in place by Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Monday afternoon based on the fire weather index, currently rated at extreme in the city.The index is monitored daily and takes into account temperature, wind conditions, humidity and precipitation levels.“The likelihood of a fast-moving fire on the top surface now is more likely, so we want to reduce the risk of that by putting the fire restriction in place,” said Russell Croome, deputy fire chief. He said over the weekend, the average eight or nine calls a day for brush fires went to 19.Backyard fire pits are still permitted, provided they meet bylaw requirements. Recreational cooking stoves in city parks can also still be used.A more stringent fire ban may be implemented if conditions worsen — that would prohibit the use of backyard fire pits and cooking stoves, as well as barbecues using solid fuels such as wood and briquettes. Propane barbecues are still permitted during a ban.Failure to comply with the fire restriction may be subject to fines or charges if there is a safety issue.“We really need people to pay attention and take every effort to not carelessly discard cigarettes or any activities that are going to bring risk to yourself, your home and the community,” said Croome.He said those living in homes backing onto the river valley or parks should keep “the undergrowth clear of a large accumulation of combustibles.”“Any time you’re using recreational fire or recreational cooking, there’s always a risk of embers flying, so take a look,” said Croome. “After a recreational fire, make sure it is out before you retire for the evening or for the day, and make sure you keep the fire within the confines of the container.”The restriction will remain in effect until further notice as the city monitors the fire weather index rating. Temperatures are expected to peak this week at 31 C Wednesday. There is no sight of rain in the next seven days, according to Environment Canada.— With files from Dustin Cookajunker@postmedia.comTwitter.com/JunkerAnna