Earlier in the afternoon, crews from the County Regional Fire Service responded to higher-than-usual calls for service due to fires throughout the county.
Firefighters from the Dunes firehall were dispatched to a grass fire near Resources Road. When crews arrived, they discovered a grass fire that was rapidly spreading. Firefighters extinguished the blaze. The cause of the blaze was an illegal fire pit.
Approximately a half-hour later, units from Sexsmith, Teepee Creek and Clairmont headed to a grass fire in the Bad Heart Region (Range Road 23 and Township Road 754) which was endangering nearby structures. The fire eventually encompassed approximately four hectares and involved a granary. It was put out after a few hours, and the cause was determined to be a burning barrel.
Fire crews from the Dunes, Wembley, LaGlace and Sexsmith, responded to a wildland fire north of Township Road 750 and Range Road 51 around 4:30 p.m. By the time crews arrived, the large grass fire had spread into the trees. Crews extinguished the fire and called out Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as the fire took place in the Forest Protection Area. The fire’s cause is believed to be the result of a person(s) shooting at an exploding target.
Around 4:47 p.m., crews from Bezanson, Teepee Creek, Sexsmith and Clairmont were dispatched to a grass- fire threatening a shop near Range Road 31 and Township Road 734. On arrival, crews discovered a one-hectare grass fire and a fully-involved shop fire. They put out the fires, and the shop was a total loss. The cause of the fire was the result of embers escaping a fire pit and causing the grass fire.
LaGlace firefighters responded to a single-vehicle rollover on Range Road 83 around 5:50 p.m. . The vehicle, which rolled down an embankment into Mulligan Creek, started a brush fire. The fire was put out, and the two occupants of the vehicle refused medical care.
According to Deputy Fire Jason Nesbitt, the cause of many of the incidents Sunday was unattended burning. It put a burden on the local emergency response system as some crews had to be diverted from one emergency to respond to another.
“All fire pits and burn barrels must be attended at all times,” Nesbitt said. “The must be on a non-combustible surface and have a further ring of gravel, bricks, or mineral soil to prevent embers from starting grass fires.
“Even though we have had rain and snow lately, the fine fuels such as cured crass can dry out in a matter of hours, leading to an increased fire hazard. With dry grass likely to be here for another two weeks until green-up, all residents are advised to use extreme caution when burning. If a grass fire does start, please call 911 immediately.”
Boat collision injures five
Five people sustained serious injuries after a boat on the Wapiti River collided with the trestle bridge early Sunday evening.
The boat apparently struck the base of the bridge, all five occupants ejected and floating down stream. There were multiple injuries in the incident.
Rescue boats from the Grovedale Fire Department, Wembley Fire, Grande Prairie Search and rescue and two STARS and one private helicopter were pressed into action to rescue, assess, treat, and transport the patients around 6:30 p.m.
Firefighters from the Dunes hall responded to the scene to assist Grovedale Fire Department with any rescue issues, bringing ATVs along if rescue was accessible by ground.