Thursday, 07 September 2017 05:00

Fire destroys large area of grazing land near Glentworth

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A large number of volunteers came with water trucks and trailers to help battle the blaze near Glentworth, Sept. 4. A large number of volunteers came with water trucks and trailers to help battle the blaze near Glentworth, Sept. 4. April Williamson

A large fire near the community of Glentworth destroyed about 3,500 acres of grazing land on Labour Day.

Deidre Nelson, the administrator for the Rural Municipality (R.M.) of Waverley No. 44, said the fire started 12 miles south of Glentworth just after 2 p.m., Sept. 4.
“It was started by a swather in a durum field,” she mentioned. “It quickly went into native prairie. It’s very hilly, very deep coulees, deep hills down there. It ran seven miles south, almost straight south. The wind was very, very strong. So it moved quite quickly.”
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment sent a water bomber and a spotter aircraft from Prince Albert to assist with firefighting efforts.
It took more than six hours to get the fire under control and it was out by 8:30 p.m. on Monday night.
The R.M. of Waverley’s fire department received support from neighbouring rural municipalities to fight the fire.
In addition, people came from far and wide to assist the firefighters and about 500 were involved in the effort to contain the fire.
“We had people and water tankers and pick-up trucks with water on, and trailers with water on from Ponteix all the way over to Willow Bunch and Coronach,” she said. “It was an unbelievable response.”
There was no damage to any structures, although the fire burnt through fences along its path of destruction.
“There’s going to be a lot of fences to rebuild,” she said. “No cattle were killed, but lots of them were scattered and moved to different pastures.”
Ranchers were out on horseback the day after the fire to find their cattle.
“Everybody is down there, sorting cattle out and getting them into the right places,” she said.
The fire occurred on private land and four or five landowners are affected.
“Some people have lost quite a bit of fall grazing,” she noted. “So they’ll have to find some alternative for that.”
The blaze came quite close to the northern-most boundary of the East Block of Grasslands National Park. Nelson estimated the fire was probably half a mile from the park.
It has been a dry summer in the area and there were previous fires, but not on the same scale as this one.
“That’s the biggest one south of Highway 13 I think this year,” she said. “It was huge, but we’ve had some other small ones. Every R.M. down here had a few small ones. … It’s been a very busy fire season, for sure.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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