Wildfire hazard still high near Rocky Mountain House
One grass fire ignited by fireworks and one burning vehicle were extinguished in the Rocky Mountain House Wildfire Management Area on Sunday.
Eight abandoned campfires were also discovered over the long weekend.
Barry Shellian, fire information officer for the wildfire management area, said a burning SUV was located about 40 km southwest of Rocky, in an area known as rig street, and was detected from a wildfire lookout tower.
The fire was discovered mid-afternoon. RCMP are investigating.
The grass fire, in a ditch at the intersection of Hwys 22 and 54, also happened on Sunday afternoon and grew to about .03 hectares.
Shellian said luckily all the abandoned campfires were smoking without flames.
“What I do appreciate is we didn’t have to respond to campfires with an open flame, but it still had the potential,” Shellian said on Wednesday.
“I think people let these fire burn out. Visibly it might seem like it’s out. I think often it’s left with the best intent, not realizing there’s potential smouldering there.”
At least three of the campfires were not dosed with liquid before they were abandoned, he said.
Several of the abandoned campfires were also located near rig street, named for the number of oil rigs operating in the area.
They were either discovered by the public or air or ground patrols.
Shellian said rig street sees a lot of random camping because it’s easy to access. But camping and all-terrain vehicle use in the area is concern for oilfield companies.
“Pipelines are not constructed as a roadway. They are soft ground. Subsurface damage could be done that we wouldn’t know about. It’s sitting there leaving a danger behind for somebody else.”
The wildfire hazard remains very high in the Rocky Mountain House Wildfire Management Area.
Only one fire still burns in the area. It is under control at O’Chiese landfill. Action has been taken to ensure it will not spread.