Volunteers and fire fighters converged on a grass fire that consumed several thousand acres of grass in the Milk River valley west of the town of Milk River, Alberta, on September 12, 2012.
Credits: MIKE DREW/QMI AGENCY
"There are very, very dry soil conditions," Susan Johnson with Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation said Wednesday.
"If anything were dropped on the ground or a campfire was left unattended or wasn't properly put out, it could prove to be very, very dangerous."
A 4,800-hectare blaze broke out Monday west of Lethbridge, about 200 km south of Calgary, forcing some people in that city and county to flee their homes. There was also an evacuation order for the nearby town of Coalhurst.
Meanwhile, a separate fire the same day meant evacuations in the town of Milk River, another 85 km south.
Things were deemed under control by Tuesday, but Johnson said the risk is still present across parts of southern Alberta, forcing the closure of Cypress Hills Provincial Park.
Only the Elkwater town site area and the Reesor Lake road through to Saskatchewan remain open - all other roads, hiking trails and areas are closed.
There are also fire bans in Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, Part Lake Provincial Park, Lake McGregor Provincial Recreation Area, Wyndham Caresland Provincial Park, Little Bow Provincial Park, Little Bow Recreation Area and Travers Recreation Area.
Fire bans prohibit the use of all wood, briquette or propane/natural gas fires including those in designated facilities and portable fire pits.
Gas and propane barbecues are allowed when approved for cooking.
"It's trying to avert the problems of wildfires and grass fires, it's to keep people safe and livestock safe because there's a lot of farmers down there and wildfire could be disastrous for them," Johnson said.
"Once the conditions change, we'll lift it."