On June 23, the Mannville Fire Department’s Don Speck was deployed with the department’s tender truck to assist with the High Level Wildfire.
“We had some warning ahead of time to get the truck ready, but knew when we got the call that it would come down to whether or not someone with the right qualifications would be available to go. We received the call from the Alberta Fire Commissioner the night before requesting resources, and within a matter of hours after speaking with his boss, the village and the county, he was on his way. Our tender truck was utilized for water shuttling and its pump and roll capabilities. The truck holds approximately 13,000 litres, and they needed volumes of water,” said Mannville Fire Chief, Trevor Gillis.
According to Gillis, Speck picked up a junior member from the Vegreville Fire Department and first thing on June 24, they had a meeting and a briefing and were tasked out with individual groups to drive along Highway 58 for hot spot control and extinguishing. Each task group consisted of an engine, a tanker, and a wildland truck. Hauling water they set up portable tanks to protect houses, refilled other trucks, as well as checked and tested sprinkler systems. In the days following, they were sent to the Paddle Prairie area to check and put out hot spots as well as work in areas west of Highway 35. In total, they spent six working days assisting with the wildfire.
“Being a rural community department, we are familiar with having to work between different departments. It was incredible seeing all different departments working together to clean trucks and hoses during wait times. In the report sent back, it was noted that Don was an absolute pleasure to work with, and that his professionalism was top notch. We would like to thank the Village of Mannville CAO Jody Quickstad and council, as well as the County Fire Chief Mike Fundytus and the County of Minburn for their support. We are also very appreciative to Don’s employer for allowing him to go with short notice, as well as to Don for volunteering his time and effort,” said Chief Gillis.
He went on to say that everything went very smoothly with a truck being away. The department was thrilled to able to contribute and firefighter Speck was happy he was able to help. He noted how special it was that such a small community could contribute to something so large.
City News estimated at the end of June that the wildfire had reached over 331,167 hectares. Global News noted that over 1,000 firefighters were working to control it, and estimated that with their help it had been 60 per cent held. The fire has been burning for over a month.