Weather conditions a fire concern in Wetaskiwin County

County of Wetaskiwin was unsure during council meeting of declaring fire ban

Under the direction of Mike Zajac, director of emergency services for the County of Wetaskiwin, the municipality is moving ahead with no fire ban or restrictions earlier this month.

Zajac says he feels it is best to play it by ear depending on what the weather does but could see the county going toward a fire restriction if necessary if the land-drying winds persist.

“Last year was very dry. This year it’s shaping up pretty much the same,” said Zajac.

“There are a lot of municipalities that have put on fire advisories fire restrictions total fire bans,” he added.

“I like the fire restrictions,” said Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers. “I don’t think it’s responsible to give out fire permits right now.”

Coun. Lyle Seely says he is concerned when such actions are implemented they blanket the entire county, even if not all areas of the county need it.

Zajac says partial restriction have been used in the past but feels they are not always the most effective, as weather and land conditions can change quickly.

Coun. Larry McKeever voiced his support of Seely’s idea but says the county should still make sure to err on the side of caution.

Zone 2 Fire Society tanker

Wetaskiwin County’s Zone 2 Fire Society’s 2001 tanker is being kept on as part of the fleet and council has agreed to discuss increasing the capital equipment grant allocation for the 2017 budget, which could lead to eventually purchasing an additional tanker rather than replacing the older one.

Councillors were assured by Zajac that there was enough space to keep the tanker and enough staff to man it.