Anyone who is heading into a Forest Protection Area of Alberta with a reason to celebrate needs to make sure fireworks are ignited properly.

Provincial Information Officer with Alberta Wildfire, Melissa Story, explains that fireworks are only allowed in a Forest Protection Area with written permission, due to the high hazard potential of starting a wildfire.

"Anyone who is wishing to use fireworks, must get written permission from their local Forest Area Office," Story says. "So, closest to Okotoks would be the Calgary Forest Area Office."

Story says they examine every request on a case-by-case basis.

"We're typically looking at what the current and expected wildfire danger would be in a specific area to decide if issuing a permit would be a responsible thing to do or not," Story says.

When requesting a permit, the Forest Area Office will need some information from the applicant.

"I will need to know a name, address, and phone number of whomever is requesting it. A legal land location. Where the event or gathering is going to happen," Story explains. "We'd like to see a list of the fireworks that will be discharged, and we need proof of notifying stakeholders that may be affected by firework activity. So, we really encourage folks who are going out camping not to shoot off fireworks. However, if it is a special event, we do consider those on a case-by-case basis."

Story says that Canada Day is a special enough event for them to issue permission.

Once permission has been granted, the written permission form must be on the location of the fireworks festivities.

"We do patrols specifically on long weekends. So, our folks will be out patrolling the areas for folks who are improperly putting out campfires or detonating fireworks. Anyone who is caught discharging fireworks in a Forest Protection Area without permission can face a fine. They could also be held responsible for the cost of any firefighting efforts that were caused because of their actions."

This legislation falls under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act and has been in place since 2016.

If people want to set off fireworks outside of a Forest Protection Area, it is still advised to check out the local bylaws or contact the local fire department to see if setting off fireworks is allowed in that area or not.

"On average, 67 per cent of the wildfires in Alberta are human-caused, so we're trying to do everything that we can to prevent those. And we really appreciate the efforts of Albertans to help support that as well."

With that, Story reminds everyone heading into a Forest Protection Area to check on fire bans in the area before starting a fire.

To learn more about the rules around fireworks, head over to the Alberta Government webpage.