A burn ban remains in effect throughout several municipalities in the region despite recent precipitation.
In the RM of Stuartburn, all open fires remain banned in rural areas of the municipality. The ban on open fires within generally developed areas has been lifted.
The RM of De Salaberry, Piney, La Broquerie and Hanover have also prohibited open fires until further notice. Fires in enclosed fire pits are permitted however residents are reminded to use caution.
In preparation for what could be one of the busiest years for wildfires, the municipalities are all attending a Wildfires Preparedness Seminar hosted by Emergency Measures Organization on May 3 in Steinbach at Quarry Oaks.
Cigarette suspected in Piney grassfire
A carelessly tossed cigarette is the likely cause of a grass fire south of Piney on April 20. Piney fire crews were called out the fire on Friday evening and spent the entire night trying to regain control.
RM of Piney council Don Winnicky lives and farms adjacent to where the fire started.
“The road allowance is mowed and it was short like a lawn with water in the bottom,” Winnicky explained. “A quarter section burned up.”
Winnicky says he was out helping fight the fire until midnight and even help assist by discing fire guards to keep the fire from spreading.
Sprague fire chief Bill Ross says that cause of the fire was not determined. His department was called in to assist with the fire after wind pushed it westward. Eventually it was contained before it caused any further damage. No one was injured.
Fire fighter injured in grass fire
A RM of La Broquerie fire fighter was taken to hospital and a second treated in ambulance while they were attempting to extinguish a grass fire.
On Friday, April 28, fire crews battled a grass fire along Loewen Boulevard, two miles from La Broquerie. The fire, which started in a backyard fire pit, moved quickly towards a residential area but fire crews were able to contain it.
“It was pretty busy for awhile but we managed to put it out before losing any buildings,” stated Fire chief Alain Nadeau.
Fire fighters were onsite for about five hours before the fire was contained. No buildings were lost but one fire fighter was taken to hospital and another was treated in the ambulance onsite. Both fire fighters that received medical treatment were treated for smoke inhalation and exhaustion.
He added that the municipality has a fire ban in place and while a backyard fire pit is allowed after dark, burning of garbage or in larger pits is banned. Anyone found burning outside of the permitted regulations could result in a bill to recover fire fighting costs and fined for noncompliance.
Marchand bush fire deliberately set
The La Broquerie fire department says that a bush fire that burned out of control south of Marchand on April 26 was deliberately set.
Fire crews were called to the site of the fire eight miles south of Marchand around 1PM, stated Fire chief Al Nadeau.
“It was set deliberately in two different spots,” says La Broquerie Fire Chief Al Nadeau. “It got away quite quickly before crews could get there.”
He added that it appeared that someone deliberately set the fires in two separate spots and then left.
Three water bombers were called in by the Department of Natural Resources to help fight the blaze. The bombers managed to contain the fire to one section.
“It took them four to five hours to fight the fire and that is very expensive,“ Nadeau added. He estimates it will cost the province about $70,000.
The Department of Natural Resources is investigating the blaze further.