A fire has caused damage to a new viewing deck at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre.
Overnight, “somebody burned a hole” in the viewing deck, which had been open to the public for just one week, Waskasoo Environmental Education Society executive director Todd Nivens said in a post on the Kerry Wood Facebook page Saturday morning.
“Fortunately a nature centre interpreter was out for an early morning walk and found the fire, still burning, the flames 15 (centimetres) high,” said Nivens.
“Some quick thinking and a handy cup of coffee knocked down the worst of it. Red Deer Emergency Services took care of the smouldering remains. Please join us in extending our deepest gratitude to the fire crew that came out to take care of the problem.”
While the damage doesn’t appear severe, the bird blind must remain closed until temporary repairs are made, he added.
“In the winter, when everything is frozen, and when we can get people and equipment on the ice, we will make a permanent repair from underneath the blind,” said Nivens.
“This was a hard blow this morning. Our community – you amazing visitors and supporters – have been so great to us over the years, and you’ve been so supportive during the pandemic. We wanted so badly for you to have this structure and to use it to safely connect with nature.
“We know that families use it for picnics, that others use it as a place for contemplation. We know that countless photographs are taken and that lifelong memories are made out there. This is a setback for all of us.”
Anyone who may have seen something “out of the ordinary” around 8 a.m. Saturday morning, is asked to contact the nature centre.
“This is only a minor setback. Nobody was injured and the fire was contained to the deck. Drier wood, stronger wind, and more unfortunate timing could have resulted in a far worse outcome,” he said.
“I hope to be able to return the bird blind to you later next week.”