M.D. of Willow Creek declares State of Local Emergency as precautionary measure

By Patrick Burles - @PatrickBurles on Twitter
September 13, 2017 - 6:39pm

WILLOW CREEK – The M.D. of Willow Creek has declared a state of local emergency, in an effort to avoid the fate of communities to the west that have been impacted by the Kenow wildfire.

Reeve Earl Hemmaway spoke with Lethbridge News Now on Wednesday (Sept. 13), explaining that the declaration will allow them to close all road allowances in the M.D.

“The reason why is because of the vegetation that's on the road allowances, and any cars or trucks that have catalytic converters have the potential to start a fire,” stated Hemmaway.

“We were at a meeting yesterday morning, and it was even stated by the Department of Forestry that a spark off of a horse shoe hitting a rock could even spark a fire,” he continued. “Now the forestry is all closed, they have road blocks up, and this is what inspired us to also take the precaution. This is to be proactive, not reactive to the fire.

“With the fire that has happened in Waterton, we want to be proactive, and not have any fires started in our municipality.”

Hemmaway continued by saying it applies to undeveloped road allowances, and for the time being, anyone caught on them does not have the right to be there. The declaration notes that they can be accessed by the road allowance lease holder/adjacent landowner or their authorized representative.

“I think every farmer and rancher in the area understands that and I think that most people understand that that are in the cities, but you still get people going down the road and throwing cigarette butts out,” he added. “It is now bow hunting season, and you have a lot of people that still want to go back into the foothills here and go hunting.

“You have to be cognisant that it is very, very dry... it is so tinder dry out here. There's no green and there's no moisture in the soil that's there, and even if we get an inch of rain or so, I mean, it's going to really, really help, but all of that vegetation still has the dryness to it. So, it's going to take a lot of rain.”

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