County budgets for fire trucks

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County Fire Services will get two new trucks by the end of the year.

At its regular meeting Jan. 23, county council supported recommendations to budget almost $800,000 for the new vehicles in the 2019 budget.

Council allocated $495,000 for a new wildland-urban fire engine that will be based in High Prairie.

Funding of $295,000 was also authorized for a multi-purpose rapid rescue unit for Grouard fire district to replace a current vehicle.

The new trucks will improve service to the county, fire chief John McDermott says in a report to council.

“Both vehicles will be able to safely address traditional structural firefighting operations not only in both urban and rural settings, but wildland-urban fires where many of our county residents live in forested areas,” McDermott says.

“As the Grouard fire district has the highest level of wildland incidents requiring response, a second light unit that is ready and capable of responding to those types of fire would be beneficial to the area and firefighters charged with protecting the area.”

Over the last three years, the Grouard team responded to an average of six wildfire calls per year, ahead of Kinuso with five.

He says the unit for Grouard will be identical to a new fire rescue truck that arrived last June for Joussard.

“It’s really two units in one,” McDermott says.

“I prefer multi-use resources.”

He says it is also more economical.

The rapid-rescue unit will also be valuable when the local crew responds to motor vehicle collisions on Highway 750, McDermott says.

The fire engine will be similar to the one that arrived last June for the Enilda fire district, McDermott says. It has an 800-gallon tank and foam capability.

McDermott says the vehicles are expected to arrive in about 11 months.

Both vehicles are part of the fire services’ schedule replace vehicles after operating for 20 years.

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