The County of Wetaskiwin Fire Protection Services responded to a total of 328 calls in 2015, which is up from the 250 calls in 2014.
The Buck Lake and Alder Flats area saw a total of 22 calls, down from 30; rural Millet had 68 calls, up from 56; Mulhurst had 28 calls which was three less than 2014; South Pigeon Lake saw 81 calls, almost double 2014’s 45 calls; Wetaskiwin rural had 98 calls, up from 69; and Winfield went from 19 to 31 calls.
Mike Zajac, director of emergency services says 18 of the calls from South Pigeon Lake were alarms. He added as more and more pricey homes are erected in the area he expects there to be more alarms.
“For the most part we don’t know why the alarms were going off,” said Zajac.
Zajac says the reason 2015 had so many more calls than 2014 is largely due to building alarms; mostly residential fire alarms in and around Pigeon Lake and the summer villages.
“All other call types are up slightly which adds to the overall increase in numbers,” he added, in an email to the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer.
Zajac also pointed out to council there were also more motor vehicle accidents in 2015 than 2014. “Those are always up.”
County of Wetaskiwin CAO Frank Coutney asked Zajac during council’s Feb. 16 meeting if the possibility of spring fires were going to be a concern.
Zajac said what helped so much last year was getting the fire ban on early. He added there may be the possibility of setting one even earlier this year. “I really think we’ll have to play it by ear.”