Photo from Ponoka Fire Department Facebook page

Ponoka firefighters head to southern Alberta

Four Ponoka firefighters take an engine to help fight southern Alberta wildfires

Central Alberta firefighters have joined the battle against southern Alberta wildfires.

Red Deer County is sending six firefighters to provide logistical support to the RCMP special tactical operations team.

Ric Henderson, the county’s community and protective services director, and senior county peace officer Irv Heide will be joined by four county technical rescue volunteers.

They will be taking the county’s incident command post and deployment trailers.

The six were heading out on Tuesday afternoon and expect to spend three to four days in southern Alberta.

Reached as he was travelling south, Henderson said they will be based at Pincher Creek and expect to provide support to the RCMP. It may involve evacuation planning and co-ordination or other duties.

“We’ll know more when we get there,” he said.

Ponoka firefighters are also heading south to lend a hand.

Fire Chief Jamie Wilkinson and three other firefighters took one of their engines down to southern Alberta on Tuesday morning. They reported to a staging area near the wildfires, which have led to evacuations.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued to residents south of Hwy 505 to Waterton Park. Residents in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, Cardston County and Blood Reserve #148 are affected.

“With such dry conditions in Western Canada resulting in these uncontrolled wildfires, the Town of Ponoka wants to do whatever we can to help,” says Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett in a statement.

The Ponoka firefighting crew will be under the unified command of federal and provincial officials co-ordinating emergency operations in the southern part of the province.

Bonnett said an interim fire chief has been appointed in Wilkinson’s absence and the town will be well looked after by the department.

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