Crew Initiates Northern Alberta Survey Amid Forest Fires

Written by Fred Roetker
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Photo of Fred Roetker.After a late spring and predicted late break-up of lakes in northern Alberta, Mother Nature did an about-face with warm temperatures and dry southerly winds. With winter precipitation below normal, the result was a flare-up of forest fires; some of which are still burning out of control. We initiated survey flying May 21. We are progressing smoothly with some downtime due to unsuitable flying conditions with limited visibility in smoke. The dry conditions have left many small basins without water and larger wetlands recessional. Duck numbers will probably be depressed in this region. We plan to complete northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia by May 26.

NWT crew: Caleb Spiegel, left; Fred Roetker, right.

NWT crew: Caleb Spiegel, left; Fred Roetker, right. Photo by Caleb Spiegel, US FWS

Forest fire near waterfowl transect in northern Alberta.

Forest fire near waterfowl transect in northern Alberta. Photo by Caleb Spiegel, US FWS

Widespread smoke limits visibility during survey flying.

Widespread smoke limits visibility during survey flying. Photo by Caleb Spiegel, US FWS

Many wetlands are affected by forest fires burning in northern Alberta.

Many wetlands are affected by forest fires burning in northern Alberta. Photo by Caleb Spiegel, US FWS