AltaLink Taking Action to Protect Albertans From Risk of Wildfire

May 16, 2024

With an early start to wildfire season announced in Alberta, AltaLink’s top priority is protecting its customers and the communities where it operates while delivering safe, reliable, and affordable power.

Alberta experienced a record-breaking wildfire season in 2023 with more than 2.2 million hectares burned, the most in Alberta’s history, compared to the five-year average of 200,000 hectares. This year drought conditions, especially in the southern part of the province, will increase the risk of wildfires in Alberta. Alberta is already in Stage 4 (out of 5) in its water shortage management response plan, a level that wasn’t reached until the later months of 2023.

“As wildfires become more frequent and intense, reducing the likelihood that our system contributes to the ignition of a fire is a critical part of our job in delivering power safely to millions of Albertans,” said Gary Hart, AltaLink President and Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve seen the devastation that a wildfire can cause to communities in Alberta and across North America and we are taking action to help prevent it from happening.”

In 2019, AltaLink became the first utility in Alberta to establish a wildfire mitigation plan based on a wildfire model created by external wildfire experts.

Since then, AltaLink has implemented a series of safety measures and system enhancements to increase situational awareness and mitigate the risk of the transmission system contributing to the ignition of a wildfire. This includes real-time analysis of weather conditions, increased inspections, enhanced vegetation management activities, asset upgrades and establishing a last resort measure in extreme and dangerous weather conditions called a Public Safety Power Shut-off to de-energize facilities during times of extreme fire weather.

In response to the increase in extreme weather and the severity of wildfire activity experienced in Alberta in 2023, AltaLink filed an amendment to its 2024-2025 General Tariff Application to further enhance and accelerate investments in its wildfire mitigation program. AltaLink began implementing these investments in 2024.


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