New firefighting ATV for South Pigeon Lake

New firefighting ATV for South Pigeon Lake

Polaris bush buggy paid for by community donations

The south Pigeon Lake area is better protected against bush fires after the community came together and paid for most of a new all-terrain firefighting vehicle.

South Pigeon Lake’s fire department has been getting acquainted with their new Polaris 900 Ranger “bush buggy” vehicle, noted fire chief Wayne Benson at the fire hall May 7.

Benson said the department liked the idea of an all-terrain firefighting vehicle, as South Pigeon Lake faces what they refer to as a “wildland-urban” interface. Many of the areas around Pigeon Lake have a substantial urban footprint, located directly beside an area with a substantial forested footprint. This makes it more difficult for firefighters to get at certain fires in the trees.

Benson said the Pigeon Lake community and their friends raised 100 per cent of the funds for the side-by-side ATV and the special equipment needed. “Taste of Summer was a big part of it,” said Benson.

He noted “Taste of Summer” is a special Pigeon Lake barbecue event organized by local business owner Darrell Bohlender and his team, which raised most of the cash for the ATV project.

The fire chief noted Hi Line Polaris in Wetaskiwin also helped along with JAB Motorsports in the Pigeon Lake area.

Benson said the vehicle allows firefighters to enter the bush to extinguish smaller fires instead of waiting for them to reach the firefighters.

The vehicle includes tires but has a track option for winter, trail, frozen lake and mud conditions.

Benson stated firefighters are undergoing training in the operation and use of the vehicle.

Fully loaded, the vehicle weighs about 2,800 pounds.

Benson said the strong community support for an important piece of emergency equipment was great to see.