Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:20

County of Newell grass fires burns over 1,200 acres

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By Ryan Dahlman
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It was a busy weekend for fire departments within the County of Newell.

Many of the communities' fire departments had the opportunity to team up as at least a projected 1,200 acres of grassland was charred by two separate grass fires.

Keith Martin, the County of Newell's Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator said the latest fire happened Nov. 13.

"It burnt through some marshy and remote areas," explained Martin of the fire which was east of the Rolling Hills Reservoir near Highway 535. He added there was no buildings damaged as far as he was aware.

Martin said they fought it for up to ten hours, before it was under control. It was still burning up until early Monday morning.

Martin said the Brooks RCMP are investigating that particular fire.

The second fire occurred south of Rolling Hills Nov. 10. According to Martin, there were 660 acres which were burned including an area about two miles wide. Most of it said Martin was remote areas which included a lot of sloughs and coulees.

Martin believes it started around supper time.

Tilley, Rolling Hills, Brooks, Hays and Scandia were all there to help battle the fire which was fanned by a strong wind. As well, the County of Newell and Eastern Irrigation district road graders were also there to help extinguish the blaze by digging some fire guards.

"It was an accidental fire," explained Martin.

Martin said the fire crews were starting to get tired, especially battling two significant blazes within a short period of time, but he had mixed emotions in regards to the reports of snow for the region in the upcoming days.

"From a personal standpoint no," Martin said with a chuckle in reference to not being happy about snow coming. "From a business-wise point of view, definitely."

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