August 8th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 32
Bushtown’s brush with fire
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
John Kinnear Photo
Pictured above is the utility pole where the fire originated. FortisAlberta has stated that a crow that came into contact with the company’s electrical facilities was the cause behind the 0.2 hectare fire in Bushtown on Wednesday, August 1.
Pass Herald Reporter
Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue responded to and contributed to the successful eradication of a fire in Bushtown just off of York Creek Road on the evening of Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

According to FortisAlberta, the fire was caused by a crow that “came in contact with the utility company’s electrical facilities.”

"It caused a spark and the crow caught on fire and dropped to the ground and that caused a small grass fire," says FortisAlberta spokeswoman Jennifer MacGowan.

The fire took approximately one hour to deem “under control” and totaled approximately 0.2 hectares in size. The fire did not threaten any structures or homes.

A resident called the fire into 9-1-1 dispatch at approximately 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1.

Vance Maclean, Deputy Fire Chief and incident commander of the fire, was the first responder on site.

In total, 25 emergency responders were on scene, comprising of 18 crew from Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue, five from Alberta Wildfire and two RCMP officers.
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Nine fire apparatuses were on scene.

The team worked to mop up and soak the hot spots and stop the forward progress of the fire. Maclean and Josh Hoddinott, a Wildfire Ranger with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, formed a unified command to combat the fire.

"Instead of having two separate organizations working together but in a different command structure, I kind of married both of us so everybody fell under both of us. Once we unified our command, we quickly got it under control," says Maclean. "It was a great job and a combined effort between Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue and Forestry."

At approximately 10:30 p.m., Maclean relieved all Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue crew and turned the scene over completely to Forestry to monitor.
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Maclean credits the rapid response by Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue for such a successful extinguishing of the fire.

"The wind was starting to pick up and it was hot and dry, as we all know. So it was totally due to the quick response of the men and women of Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue that stopped it from progressing into what could have been a larger incident,” he says.

According to Maclean, this was the first larger fire incident in Crowsnest Pass.

“There was a couple of smaller incidents in Hillcrest in June and early July, but they were mostly confined to the railroad tracks and immediate surroundings,” he says.

A fire advisory is currently in effect for The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. This means that all active fire permits are cancelled, and no new fire permits will be issued until further notice. However, campfires and propane fire pits are allowed.

With dry conditions persisting in Crowsnest Pass, Maclean advises the public to be cautious about cigarette butt disposal and to call in if any unusual or alarming smoke is spotted.

The Report a Wildfire toll free phone number is 310-FIRE (3473).
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August 8th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 32
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