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Landowner wants city firefighters better equipped for rural grass fires
Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:56PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, April 18, 2019 1:11PM CST
A property owner whose land was scorched in Wednesday’s grass fire wants the Saskatoon Fire Department to be better equipped to fight rural fires.
It took about 12 fire trucks nearly seven hours to put out the grass fire that started on Duncan McKercher’s property in Riverside Estates — and moved south to Cranberry Flats.
“I think the firefighters are doing a fantastic job, but I'm not convinced they have the proper infrastructure and resources to fight grass fires,” said McKercher, who estimates about 200 acres of his grassland was charred.
“They need better equipment, more four-wheel-drive trucks and more trucks available. They're sending city equipment to fight rural fires and I think it's time the city gives them the goods they need to do a proper job.”
The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined; the Saskatoon Fire Department says it is outside their jurisdiction.
Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Rodger disagreed with McKercher, saying the Saskatoon department is always prepared to go off-roading.
“We have the right amount of equipment. We have two tankers that can shuttle the water we need to do the work. We also have three brush trucks and they can go out into the country and into the terrain,” Rodger told CTV News.
If the Saskatoon Fire Department needs additional support, crews can turn to in-area firefighters or provincial resources, as they did in Tuesday’s fire — a water bomber plane was deployed, courtesy of the Ministry of Environment.