The Alberta RCMP is asking residents to remain prepared and vigilant as communities across the province remain threatened by wildfires.
While evacuated communities have seen an increase in police presence, aiding the safety and security of those communities, the RCMP is urging residents to take steps to make their properties less of a target to thieves.
To assist people with securing their property, the Alberta RCMP has released a series of videos outlining some “basic and effective advice” for residents to follow which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/playlistlist=PLcKXZtPXANcruAdyWOrXnHqQ3DdG_hcd7
As a result of the evacuations and increased police presence in the evacuated communities, year-over-year crime statistics have fallen sharply with, as an example, Valleyview, Alta., dropping from 239 files to 163 during the same time periods in 2022 and 2023.
When it comes to the fires themselves, each one is investigated by wildfire investigators from Alberta Forestry, Parks and Tourism.
Any fires determined to be caused by humans and either suspicious or deliberately set are referred to the RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit, which will also join the investigation.
According to a June 14 media release, the “vast majority” of the fires which have occurred so far in 2023 have been “attributed to naturally occurring sources, such as lightning,” but a dozen wildfires are being investigated more thoroughly as human involvement is believed to be a contributing factor to them.
In comparison, the RCMP Forestry Crime Unit investigated 21 suspicious wildfires in 2022 and 40 in 2021.
“Members of the Alberta RCMP are thinking of those who had to evacuate from their community – we understand how difficult it can be to have to leave your home. Though, we would like to remind those who are still in mandatory evacuation areas to leave – as any calls for emergency services could be disrupted by road closures, fire or smoke,” concludes the release.