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Four fires in first four days of June

Two of the fires in the city are believed to be intentionally ignited.
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The first two fires in June were due to people lighting poplar fluff on fire, says Michael Bos fire prevention officer with the City of St. Albert. FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

It’s been a busy start to the fire season in St. Albert this spring, with two of the fires suspected to be lit intentionally.

There have been four brush fires in the first four days of June, according to the St. Albert fire prevention officer Michael Bos. 

“That's a bad statistic to start off the month,” said Bos. 

On Wednesday June 1, just after 7 p.m., St. Albert RCMP received a call regarding a fire in the tree line behind Sir George Simpson School, said an RCMP press statement. 

“It is believed that the fire was intentionally set by someone,” the RCMP wrote. 

On Thursday June 2, at around 3:00 p.m. fire crews responded to a fire that started near the Lacombe Lake Dog Park. 

On Friday June 3 at 1:00 p.m. fire crews responded to a fire in the ravine around 200 St. Albert Trail. 

On Saturday June 4 at around 6:00 p.m. St. Albert RCMP and St. Albert fire crews were attended a fire off Poundmaker Road on the south end of Riverlot 56. Police closed Poundmaker Road so crews could work unobstructed. The road was re-opened later that evening.

The first two fires were started by people igniting poplar fluff on the ground, said Bos. The cause of the third and fourth fire are both undetermined. 

Bos said they get several calls a year related to people intentionally starting fires. 

“Whether they're just playing around, or whether they intend to light it, or whatever the case may be, it's just that sort of carelessness too is also a huge concern for us,” said Bos. 

However, the top reason fire crews get called out to grass fires is from improperly disposed of cigarettes that aren’t put into proper ashtrays. 

“That has an impact,” he said. 

Grass fires can start anytime in the city — even in the winter — but the official start to the fire season in St. Albert is from March to November. June, July, and August are the most active months, said Bos. 

The biggest factor in fires is the weather, but ground conditions also play a role in conditions for grass fires. 

“Warm, dry, low relative humidity, low moisture content in the ground, available fuels leftover from the winter — those are the factors that can create a higher risk for fire,” he stated. 

Bos asks that the public be aware of not only how hot the weather is, but also how windy it is outside, and in a hot dry summer there is a much higher risk of fires in natural or grassy areas. 

“It's a matter of being cautious of that and aware of conditions that that may cause the growth of a fire,” he said. 

It is also important that if people observe anything suspicious; including observing someone acting carelessly; or, if they believe a fire started suspiciously, call 911. 

“We'll arrive and we'll put the fire out, but RCMP and make them aware of the circumstances,” he said. 

St. Albert RCMP are also asking that anyone who was in the area or using the pathway or the playground around Sir George Simpson School on June 1, that may have information regarding who set the fire to contact police at 780-458-7700

If you see a crime in progress, dial 911. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store. 

About the Author: Jessica Nelson Local Journalism Initiative

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