Regional fire service helps out in NWT

Leader staff

Nothing super-serious lately, is how regional fire chief Alex Pavcek described the activity of the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Service (LSLRFS) in the early days of September. It’s a good thing, too, because for a 14-day stretch recently, the team was several members short, due to deployments in the Northwest Territories.

Pavcek told The Leader last week that deputy chief Michael Bissell joined a Parkland County crew that went north to help out at Fort Smith, which was threatened by wildfire. Joining Bissell for that first seven-day stint were three volunteer firefighters – two from Widewater Hall 2 and one from Slave Lake. Along with them went a structure-protection trailer from the LSLRFS.

“It’s still there, actually,” said Pavcek.

Replacing those four at Fort Smith for a second seven-day stint were two Slave Lake and two High Prairie-area volunteers.

Pavcek said most of the work was in structure protection, or dealing with small fires and generally just helping out wherever and however they were asked to by the local fire department.

The fire threatening Fort Smith hadn’t gotten closer than the outskirts of the community, Pavcek said.

On the other hand, it wasn’t yet under control as of press time, and the battle continued.

Meanwhile, evacuated Yellowknife residents were able to return home last week. A few were likely staying in Slave Lake, and at least one family stopped over in Slave Lake on the way home on Aug. 10. They had been staying in Medicine Hat during the evacuation.

In other fire department news, Pavcek told M.D. council last week a recruitment campaign for new volunteers is in full swing. Smith has two new members, but Slave Lake and Widewater halls are both down.

Pavcek said one result of being short members is less participation in community events, which has long been a staple of fire department community involvement.

“We’ve got some burnout this year,” he said. “So we’re asking less of our people, so they are ready to respond.”

During National Fire Prevention Week in early October there will be three open house events, Pavcek said – one each in Smith, Flatbush and Slave Lake. The one at Hall #1 in Slave Lake will be on a Saturday, for a change. Usually it’s on a weekday evening.

Share this post

Post Comment