The combination of a backyard fire and a blanket of poplar fluff turned into a scary situation in Strathcona County.

Strathcona County Emergency Services responded to the incident in the Aurora Place Subdivision around 3 p.m. on Saturday (Jun. 4). Three properties were affected when the fire spread from a fire pit and ignited the fluff on the ground.

"[It caused] some damage to those properties, mainly melted siding. We did have a detached garage and a boat that was damaged or consumed during the fire as well," explained fire marshal Rod Kuhn.

“A fairly significant fire for us. Lots of resources had to go and put that fire out.”

Between 8-10 trucks carrying 40 members responded, including several tankers, bush trucks, fire engines, and support vehicles. In addition to the fluff, Kuhn noted Saturday was fairly windy with gusts up to 40 km/h.

"There was a lot of work to do at the beginning of the incident and quite a bit of salvage and overhaul in the tree areas."

Kuhn recommends a screen for backyard firepits and keeping fires a safe distance from poplar fluff to prevent similar incidents.

"It's very flammable; I always say it's like the dryer lint of the forest."

Poplar fluffA heavy blanket of poplar fluff is partially to blame for a major fire in Strathcona County. Photo courtesy of Strathcona County Emergency Services. 

While recreational backyard fires are permitted in Strathcona County, open fires and burn barrels require a burn permit. Fire permit holders must contact the county before every burn to see if burning is allowed by calling 780-464-8464 or texting the word "BURN" to 587-340-3696 to receive an immediate reply.