A grass fire in northern Alberta destroyed several outbuildings

A grass fire in northern Alberta destroyed several outbuildings

Seventeen firefighters were needed to extinguish a late-night grass fire in Barrhead County.

BARRHEAD – A grass fire at Bloomsbury Farm spread quickly, covering several outbuildings late Sunday night on November 19.

The call, which came in just before midnight, was reported as a structure fire when the call came in, Barrhead Regional Fire Services Chief Gary Huff said.

However, he said when firefighters arrived, they discovered it was just a grass fire surrounding the farm site, and as a result, several outbuildings had started to catch fire.

“One of the large pig pens was on fire in two places; one of the pens burned to the ground, and another animal shelter and pump house on the other side (of the property) was on fire,” Huff said. “Once we arrived on scene, we were able to quickly contain the fire.”

He added that the pig barn and animal shelter were no longer operational.

To complicate matters for firefighters, the fire occurred during a wind storm.

He added, “The wind played a major role in pushing the fire and keeping any embers about to go out.”

The fire department responded with two fire engines, two water tenders and a wildland firefighting unit. In total, 17 firefighters helped extinguish the fire.

Although Huff said firefighters were able to quickly contain the blaze, firefighters were on scene mopping up and extinguishing hot spots until about 3:30 a.m.

“Because of the size of the scene, there were a lot of repairs,” he said.

A comprehensive overhaul is a firefighting term for inspecting a fire site to ensure no fire remains.

“By the time we finished cleaning the fire hall, it was about 4:30 a.m., which gave (most of our firefighters) enough for a quick nap before getting up to go to their day jobs,” he said.

To ensure no fire remained, a small crew returned to the scene in daylight to ensure any remaining hot spots were out.

In addition to the BRFS, Huff noted that RCMP and EMS were also on scene, adding that police have begun notifying neighboring properties to the east that they may have to evacuate, depending on wind conditions.

As for the cause of the fire, he said it was difficult to predict, noting that it could have started in several ways, including a spark from a nearby power line that was partially blown away by the wind.

“We have some theories, but nothing we can pinpoint for sure,” Huff said.

Barry Kirton, TownandCountryToday.com

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