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Average of 8 to 10 grass or brush fires a day in Red Deer in recent weeks

Fire ban still in effect
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The City of Red Deer encourages residents to watch out for fires. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Monday’s rain showers were appreciated, but the parched city needs more precipitation to reduce the risk of fires.

“We’d need to see a good amount of moisture. That helps offset the dryness and moisture content in the fuel load, the grass, brush and trees,” said Tyler Pelke, Red Deer Emergency services deputy chief.

He said in the last two weeks the city averaged about eight to ten grass or brush fires a day, which is higher than average.

“Those were generally pretty small. Nothing that we haven’t been able to manage within our response deployment procedures. Nothing that’s affected a structure or outbuilding. We’ve been really fortunate that way.”

Related:

Alberta officials say cooler weather and showers help in battle against wildfires

The city issued a fire ban on May 1, which is still in effect. Open fires using charcoal, briquettes or wood are not allowed, and neither is any source of open flame, like tiki torches.

Residents are still allowed to use certified portable gas fire pits; certified gas stoves or barbeques designed for cooking; and certified cooking appliances utilizing charcoal, briquettes or wood pellets on residential property.

Anyone who contravenes the fire ban is subject to a $210 fine and applicable response fees.

Pelke said as long as the fire ban is in place, the risk of fires remains high. People should be careful when discarding things like cigarette butts, and they need to quickly call 911 to report any fires.

“The sooner we can there, the sooner we can make sure it’s contained so nothing else is affected,” Pelke said.

Related:

Red Deer Emergency Services sends ambulances to support people affected by wildfires

Carol Lind, the city’s emergency management co-ordinator, said it’s important that residents be aware of the current wildfire risk in Red Deer and the surrounding area.

They can receive emergency alerts issued for the City of Red Deer by registering for Notify Red Deer, and register for Alberta Emergency Alerts for when they are while travelling within the province.

May 7 to 13 is National Emergency Preparedness Week and this year the theme is — Be Prepared. Know Your Risks.

“It’s important for people in the City of Red Deer to know what risks are associated with our city and surrounding area. Those include things like severe weather such as blizzards or tornadoes, extreme heat or cold, flooding, wildfires, power outages and hazardous material incidents such as train derailments,” Lind said.

As part of preparedness week, Lind will lead demonstrations on how to make emergency kits on May 10, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Collicutt Centre; and May 11, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Dawe Community Centre.

The City of Red Deer has information about how to make emergency plans and kits, evacuation procedures, an emergency preparedness guide, and more, at www.reddeer.ca/getprepared.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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