Locals work together to tame fires in Hobbema

  • May. 5, 2009 7:00 a.m.

A local state of emergency had been called for Hobbema after a number of fires have been burning out of control in the area.

The fires had been spreading so much that the smoke from these fires can be seen from miles away.

The fires had been keeping crews busy and residents on high alert. There have been 104 families evacuated because of the flames.

Several wildfires had been out of control on the Montana, Louis Bull, Ermineskin, and Samson reserves as well as the Pigeon Lake reserve. Water bombers were needed at Pigeon Lake and Samson reserve.

Fire crews and volunteers worked hard and saved many lives and property. As a result of the wildfires three homes have been lost, two on Samson and one on Louis Bull. There were also a number of abandoned houses, buildings and garages that burned to the ground.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with those nation members who lost their homes and possessions due to the fires,” said Chief Marvin Yellowbird of the Samson Cree Nation.

On May 1 the chiefs of the four nations held an emergency meeting because of the wildfires. Chief Marvin Yellowbird of the Samson Cree Nation called a local state of emergency on May 1. Chief Gerry Ermineskin of Ermineskin Cree Nation, Chief Wayne Moonias of Louis Bull Tribe, and Chief Carolyn Buffalo of Montana Cree Nations called a local state of emergency for their communities on May 3.

The Chiefs of the four nations are working with the Alberta First Nations Emergency Management Department, the RCMP, the local First Nations Fire Departments and fire departments from surrounding municipalities to help control the fires.

Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Millet, Lacombe, Mirror, Rimbey, and Clive helped provide emergency fire assistance to the Maskwacis, Ermineskin and Louis Bull Fire Departments. Alberta Wild Land firefighters also helped. Many members of Hobbema helped fight the flames to protect their homes or protect others’ property.

In a press release the chiefs expressed their gratitude to those helping with the fires.

“We are very thankful for the assistance and the cooperation of Emergency Management officials and the fire departments from our surrounding communities. We have activated water trucks from Samson Energy Services to assist those fighting the fires. Our main concern is the health and safety of our Nation members and the crews out there fighting these fires.”

Most of the fires were contained around 5:30 a.m. but there were some flare-ups in the morning as a result of stronger winds.