Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Strathmore fire resources deployed to assist with wildfires

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter   

Headlines News Wildfires Emergency & disaster management Wildland Alberta firefighters wildfires

May 18, 2023, Alberta – The Strathmore Fire Department has been called to assist with combatting and controlling the wildfires burning west of Edmonton.

Local resources, as well as those from the Chestermere Fire Department were requested through the Alberta Emergency Management Association (AEMA) to be dispatched.

“We are probably almost a week in. We sent up one of our engines and then we helped staff another engine out of Chestermere,” said David Sturgeon, Strathmore fire chief. “You always want to be ready for everything at home, so you have to really think about what you can spare and if you can still operate. You can’t worry about all the what ifs because you will never do anything if you are worried about that.”

The Strathmore department has dispatched two firefighters, incident management personnel, and several pallets of Emergency Social Service supplies in addition to an engine in order to aid provincial efforts and evacuees.

Sturgeon added the Strathmore Fire Department has been in regular communication with the AEMA, informing them of what resources are able to be made available to divert north.

The Town of Strathmore released a statement indicating more resources are ready to be dispatched if required, including more personnel and a water tender. Town resources would be sent up in conjunction with the Chestermere Fire Department.

“It is really about being strategic and working with your partners. We are in daily communication with our mutual aid partners, just to make sure everybody has enough staffing and if a bigger call comes in, that we can all support each other,” said Sturgeon. “It sounds like the one area our crews are helping in still has pretty large fire activity. The weather helped lay it down a bit, but everyone is worried about the days to come when the temperature spikes back up and dries everything out.”

Fire bans, restrictions or advisories have been put into place across the majority of the province. Strathmore and Wheatland County are currently under an advisory.

Sturgeon advised residents to be cognizant of their surroundings and practice safe activity if an individual or group chooses to have fires.

“There is no open burning allowed, no fireworks and no incendiary devices or things like that,” he said. “You are still allowed to have backyard fire pits, but when you are having those fire pits, you must follow regulations and ensure that it is supervised and you have something available to extinguish the fire. It does not take long for winds to pick up and for something to happen that you were not expecting.”

More information about the status of provincial fire bans, regulations, as well as wildfire activity is available online through provincial resources.

-The Strathmore Times

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