Farmers need to be ready for fire

Even on the mostly prairie landscape of central Alberta, wildland fires still pose a serious threat to farms.

Even on the mostly prairie landscape of central Alberta, wildland fires still pose a serious threat to farms.

Brad Andres, director of Emergency Management Services of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry explained staying safe is all about understanding the risks involved.

“For farmers, producers in the province’s forested areas, they know what needs to be done to best protect their homes and property,” Andres stated in a recent interview.

“For the rest, sometimes farmers need to be reminded not to do things that might compound the risk in given situations and should take extra precautions when they need to do specific work.”

He mentioned the huge wind-driven grass fires four years ago in southern Alberta as one example of a wildland fire hitting prairie farmland.

“Historically, the spring and harvest until the end of the season see the driest conditions leaving fuel that easily lights and a fire that can move quickly. Farmers need to identify the risks and be aware of their surroundings,” Andres stated.

“Due to farm operations management changing over the years, more straw and stubble are being left in the fields where in the past plowing under fields used to create a natural fire break. And though heavy dew and rain can help keep down the risk, farmers need to be aware of the conditions and take precautions.”

That also includes ensuring their equipment is properly maintained and working as it should as well as consider the safe storage of their farm chemicals.

Another key is to have a plan in place, not only to protect the property from fire, but what may need to be done with any animals.

“Having a plan is key. To protect the home and buildings, slowing down the advance of any fire can be done as they do move fast along ground. Using portable industrial or a regular lawn sprinkler to wet the ground around the property will do the same thing as cutting a break with discers, cultivators or using a sprayer,” he said.

“With animals, the key is to make decisions early so you have enough time to do what needs to be done, be it moving or evacuating them or instituting protection measures. Also, the plan needs to fit the situation and be practical.”

Andres cited the more recent situations in Fort McMurray and near Valleyview last year where it took days to get animals out.

“Some operations won’t be able to move animals so there needs to be an alternative plan in place, and when all else fails it won’t be considered abandoning animals if there is a release and run in that situation,” Andres added.

There are a few tools to use to help stay on top of things, he explained. Signing up for Alberta Emergency Alert, on the computer or mobile phone, can keep people apprised of fires in their area while registering your farm on Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s premises identification program allows them to set protection priorities for properties in the event of an incident. Andres stated they are working on a direct notification system for those properties, but added farms need to register to make the program better.

Farmers are also encouraged to check out the FireSmart homeowner’s manual on www.wildfire.alberta.ca.

“While you will not likely be able to stop a full-blown wildfire on your own, there are a few steps that you can take to minimize the risk and reduce the potential damage to your family, property and animals.”

 

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Pair arrested in Ponoka with several weapons, face 98 charges

Two men nabbed after early morning suspicious vehicle reported, stolen weapons found

UPDATE: 18-year-old Rimbey teen dies in collision

A portion of Highway 53 west of Rimbey is down to one lane while crews investigate

Ponoka County approves $70,000 to dredge Parkland Beach

Parkland Beach to see some dredging support from Ponoka County

Ponoka sets bylaw on cannabis retail, pushes for quick public consumption regulation

Town passes first reading on retail outlet bylaw, questions staff on need to separate public usage

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read