A look at the Lamont fire: wind, dry weather and hot spots.
With the smoke clearing and the fire under control northeast of Bruderheim, Lamont County regional fire chief David Zayonce described the challenges with this fire.
The fire was between two range roads and roughly four kilometres by six kilometres wide.
“It was quite an area and the difficult part is, the natural aspect has been kept in that area so there’s a lot of black spruce in there and trees that when they ignite, they almost blow up like a stick of dynamite. It’s quite remarkable,” said Zayonce.
He described witnessing this occur on multiple occasions where fire went up trees and the wind just blew the embers around. On one occasion there was a flare-up about 200 feet into the bush and there was nothing before that.
That is just one challenge fire crews have faced. Undergrowth is another.
“There was a fire in that location back in 2009 but again after so many years of additional growth and drought, the deadfall, leaves falling off the trees, etc., it’s actually a recipe for disaster,” he noted.
That is where the fire department cautions the public about cigarettes thrown out of a window or riding quads or ATV’s through areas. “Be aware of the surroundings because stuff like this can happen and we don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
Flooding in Lamont County last month has caused some of the roads in the area to soften, which is another challenge crews face when bringing in heavy equipment.
Some forested areas quite dangerous
On their side of operations they have had 30-50 firefighters off and on in rotating crews, plus a night crew.
“We scaled down at night because it’s too dangerous to go into the bush at that point but we’d have night crews patrolling and the RCMP and Alberta Traffic Sheriffs were awesome as well, helping us cordon off the area,” said Zayonce.
As of Tuesday morning (May 15) crews continued to battle flare-ups in the area.
This fire is the smaller of two in the area, with the second fire in Strathcona County, northwest of Bruderheim.
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