Grass fire southwest of Edmonton brought under control after shutting down Highway 39

Fire crews brought a grass fire west of Warburg, Alta., under control Friday afternoon.

Officials told CTV News Edmonton that the grass fire was reported at 11:39 a.m. and brought under control just after 1 p.m.

Highway 39, between Range Road 33 and Range Road 34, was partially closed because of smoke limiting visibility for drivers.

Firefighters from Warburg and Thorsby, Alta., responded to the fire.

Keven Lefebvre, Leduc County fire chief, said in an interview with CTV News Edmonton that crews initially responded to a small vehicle fire but because of the wind, embers sparked a grass fire along the highway.

“We were on it pretty quickly,” Lefebvre said. “There’s always the risk in this wind (fire) could travel really far.

“The grass is so dry, it doesn’t take much right now,” he added. “This past winter we had 20 per cent of the normal amount of moisture that we would normally have.”

Lefebvre said he is hopeful the county will receive some more precipitation in the next few weeks to help reduce overall wildfire risks for the upcoming summer.

“Most of the region around Edmonton and greater Edmonton and south have restrictions and fire bans on already of the dry conditions.

“Still, in the wind… somebody is having a nice safe fire pit in the backyard and an ember blows out of that it can turn ugly real quick.”

The fire chief asked Albertans to ensure they practiced caution when disposing of cigarette butts or that fire pits are properly enclosed.

“We are all in this together,” he said. “I don’t want to see anyone lose their house or be injured.”

Fire officials in Alberta have said that current conditions are fitting for a bad wildfire season, unless we see significant amounts of precipitation throughout the remainder of the spring season.

READ MORE: Alberta Wildfire officials prepare for what could be a busy summer

Warburg, Alta., is approximately 89 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.