Firefighters from St. Paul, Mallaig, and Elk Point, battled a field fire on Tuesday likely started by heavy machinery. Image credit: St. Paul Fire Department.
St. Paul Fire Department doesn’t know yet how much land was part of a large fire south of the town on Tuesday.
Roughly two dozen firefighters from St. Paul, along with assistance and equipment from Mallaig and Elk Point, responded in the early afternoon to a fire near Highway 881 and Township Road 551A, said St. Paul Fire Chief Trevor Kotowich.
It took almost nine hours to extinguish the blaze.
“There were some farmers that were trying to harvest their crop and it appears that possibly a combine might have struck a rock or glanced a rock and created a spark,” said Kotowich.
“With the conditions that we experienced yesterday, like today, it didn’t take long for a fire to start.”
The wind changes and dry earth conditions did not help members who worked to move heavy equipment close to the blaze and moved long lengths of line.
“There was literally at least a dozen if not more good samaritans that were in the area with heavy equipment tractors and rakes and brooms, doing their best to help us and to me,” said Kotowich.
“Those truly are the unsung heroes. They don’t have the equipment and the training to do this stuff. And they were right beside us in the fight. So very much appreciated for all the support and effort that everyone put in yesterday.”
There are currently no fire restrictions in place in the County of St. Paul, but that could change soon, said Kotowich.
“We certainly are monitoring conditions and and and the suggestion probably will be made rather quickly, if not even later today or tomorrow that we probably move to a fire restriction where we do not allow any open burning of stubble fields or brush piles or debris.
“Of course, we don’t want to penalize those folks that have a nice backyard fire pit and they want to enjoy a wiener roast with their family. Absolutely. We’re encouraging that just do it safely. But the conditions are pretty dramatic out there right now. It’s dry.”
BRFA responds to fire Wednesday
The Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority has responded to a house fire in the M.D. of Bonnyville on Wednesday.
More details to follow.