The Alberta Sustainable Resources has declared another early start to wildfire season this year. This means that from now until October 31, any outdoor fire at James River Retreat other than a campfire requires a permit, no matter how small. A shocking 76% of Alberta wildfires in 2013 were caused by people and that’s a substantial increase over previous years. Combine that with the fact that half of last year’s wildfires started in the month of May alone and it becomes even more timely to talk about how we all can reduce the risk of wildfire in our community. There are several excellent resources available for download from the Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Development website including The Homeowners Firesmart Manual. From managing potentially combustible vegetation and building materials around your cabin site to building a safe fire pit, this publication is full of useful tips designed to protect your cabin from wildfire. For information on fire bans and maps showing locations of current wildfires throughout the province, the government publishes Wildfire Status and Situation Reports here. And, yes, there’s an app for that, too. Those with Android devices can download it here and iPhone users can find it in iTunes here.