BLOOD RESERVE - A five acre grass fire on the southwestern section of the Blood Reserve adjacent to Cardston sent pulses racing Sunday night.
Oscar Cotton, Fire Chief, says the blaze apparently ignited in a field a where locals say drug transactions have been occuring, although there is no official cause yet.
"All I can really tell you is that we did call the Blood Tribe Police, and they are conducting an investigation... there are suspicions."
The fire was reported around 10:00 p.m., and under control in about an hour and no one had to leave their home.
"We had about eight firefighters respond. We had the majority of it knocked down in the first hour, and I left about three guys there for probably another hour to make sure it was out."
He says in the last month alone, there have been 20 fires on the reserve, some larger than the one on Sunday evening. He's asking everyone to be extra cautious- especially when putting out cigarettes.
"There's still a concern about how dry it is out there. There is still a concern about the risk for major fires. We still ask the community to be safe. If they're smoking a cigarette, they should not be discarding it from their vehicle as they drive."
And that includes modifying how some traditional ceremonies take place.
"I actually turned down a request for [a ceremony] fire for something like that just a few days ago," explains Cotton. "I did mention to them that there are other ways they can hold their ceremonies, without causing a fire. And there are ways, like if they're holding a sweat lodge, there are ways they can heat the rocks without putting anyone else in danger."
A protocol has been released to that effect, to members of the Reserve he says, and there is a fire ban in place.
"It's so tinder dry out there that anything can start a fire, and people need to be aware that they're helping us and they're helping the rest of their community by being safe."
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