February 23, 2024

RR70 Fire Reclamation Update

Parkland County is pleased to share that fire reclamation activities following the Range Road 70 Fire near Entwistle are now complete. 

The reclamation work included repairs to fire guards created by, or directed by, County forces during the RR70 fire. General landscaping to bring properties back to their original state was completed, along with property approach repairs, fencing repairs, and additional tree clearing of hazardous trees within or adjacent to the road right-of-way. 

The reclamation activities covered impacts that were a direct result of Parkland County equipment or Parkland County directed equipment, and this includes lands within Parkland County only. Impacts to property that resulted from damage by the fire itself, including insurable properties or valuables, are not part of the reclamation support activities. Residents are directed to seek legal counsel for other damages resulting from the fire to determine appropriate and available paths forward.

Parkland County continues to encourage residents to engage in FireSmart practices to assist owners in reducing risk from potential future wildfires. The program is designed to assist residents with wildland fire safety and provides strategies to minimize risk to life safety and property damage.

 

Update: January 2024 - the survey has closed, thank-you to everyone who participated. 

January 9, 2024

Resident Survey

We understand that the 2023 wildfire evacuation has had a significant impact on our community, and we value your input to help us assess and address the needs of our residents.

Please take a few minutes to complete a survey on your experience and Parkland County' s response to the event. Your feedback is crucial in enhancing our emergency response and recovery efforts. Any responses will remain confidential, and the information gathered will be used to improve our community's resilience and preparedness for future events.

If you'd prefer a paper copy of the survey, please visit the Entwistle Recreation Centre.

November 23, 2023

Parkland County Releases Investigation into RR70 Wildfire

Parkland County has received a report investigating the origins of the wildfire that began on April 29, 2023. In the interest of openness and transparency we have released the fire investigation report in full. Our thoughts remain with everyone who was impacted by this fire.

We would like to thank Jeff Henricks for his work investigating this fire. The wildfire has been referred to as the RR70 Wildfire, the Trestle Creek Wildfire or WCU-001-23. The report identifies that the wildfire began within the operating area of the Trestle Creek Golf Resort, originating as a fire that was lit on November 2022 in a brush pile. Smoke was noted during the winter, indicating that the fire continued to smolder. On Saturday, April 29, strong winds carried embers into nearby trees causing the fire to spread. 911 was called at 3:41 PM with initial responding firefighters arriving at Trestle Creek by 3:57 PM. Given the dry conditions and speed of spread, a large-scale response was required. The fire burnt a total area of approximately 6,284 acres and was declared extinguished on July 10.

Parkland County is working with our legal council to review the report and explore our next steps to protect the interests of the County and our residents. We are grateful for all the dedicated responders who worked around the clock to protect our community and their heroic efforts to keep our residents safe during such a challenging disaster. 

-Parkland County Chief Administrative Officer Laura Swain 

 

To obtain a copy of the full report, please send an email or phone (780) 968-8888 with your request. 

November 21, 2023

Red Cross Supports Available for Impacted Residents

Parkland County is pleased to share that the Canadian Red Cross has announced supports for households impacted by the 2023 Alberta Wildfires, including impacted residents in Parkland County.

Eligible Applicants can receive up to $1,500 for residential maintenance or mitigation expenses that will help reduce the risk of wildfire, such as roof maintenance or replacement with fire rated materials, repairs on external parts of your house or replacement with fire rated materials, pruning trees, or other related activities. 

Applications are open now until February 29, 2024 and more details can be found at Support for households impacted by the 2023 Alberta Wildfires - Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross also has personalized supports for those who have had major damage or whose homes were destroyed by the 2023 wildfires. Please connect with them directly to obtain individualized assistance on this matter.

Did you know that Parkland County offers free FireSmart home assessments to help identify and reduce the damage to homes during a Wildfire? A FireSmart Assessor conducts a 30-minute on-site assessment of your property and will prepare a report with tips for changes and improvements to make it more likely to survive a wildfire. Learn more and schedule your assessment on our FireSmart page. 

August 11, 2023

RR70 Wildfire Reclamation Update 3

Thanks to the significant fire suppression efforts of our crews, along with the assistance of cooler temperatures and much needed rain, Parkland County Fire Services declared the Range Road 70 wildfire extinguished on July 10. Aerial hot spot flights as well ground level patrols have confirmed that the fire risk is no longer a concern and fire crews that were monitoring the area have been redeployed.  

 We remain committed to starting the reclamation activities in 2023 and this September some work will begin in the open spaces. Work in wet and/or environmentally sensitive areas will be initiated in early 2024 due when the ground is frozen.

Reclamation of the fire guard around the fire perimeter is being conducted through our Engineering Services Department and will be completed over the next year as weather and access permits. Parkland County will be using a consulting team to build out the RR70 Wildfire Reclamation Plan and obtain all necessary approvals to begin work.

Parkland County will be repairing any damage caused by efforts to fight the fire; however, the County is not responsible to repair damage caused by the fire itself. If repairs from the result of wildfire damage are needed on your property, we recommend that they be documented for insurance or legal purposes and completed.

We are continuing to collect contact information and pertinent details from impacted residents so that we can identify properties that need reclamation. If your property has been affected due to the wildfire response by Parkland County, please send us an email at engineering@parklandcounty.com or call 780-968-8445. We appreciate all of those that have already provided information. You do NOT need to provide it a second time.

Fire Services would like to thank the landowners and residents in the area for their diligent monitoring and reporting of fire hot spots as well as their patience during the ongoing reclamation efforts.

Fire Services is offering free Fire Smart Assessments to assist property owners in reducing risk from potential future wildfires. Please contact Fire Services at if you are interested in having an assessment done. The program is designed to assist residents with wildland fire safety and provides strategies to minimize risk to life safety and property damage.

 

June 2023

June 15, 2023

RR70 Wildfire Reclamation Update 2

 

While hotspots in the RR70 Wildfire continue to be actioned by our Fire Crews, the current state of the fire, which continues to be held, has allowed the County to begin the process of reclamation. Reclamation takes time and we appreciate residents’ continued patience.

Reclamation helps to re-establish vegetation and forest cover damaged and destroyed by wildfire suppression efforts. The goal is to work with native plant species to increase forest sustainability and ecosystems and encourage a return to their natural state.

There are levels of environmental approvals and authorizations needed to further disrupt any water bodies, creeks, streams, wetlands or environmentally sensitive areas. While we do disrupt them during our response to the fire, we must take different precautions and steps in doing reclamation activities to ensure we are putting nature back to its original state or close to it.

A comprehensive final reclamation plan is being drafted with reclamation efforts expected to start this summer.  The timeline is subject to change as the RR70 Wildfire continues to burn and it would be premature to begin work on the ground before it is safe to do so.

As part of the initial stages of the reclamation process, the County requires right-of-entry approvals. This provides authorization to the County or its representatives to come onto resident’s property and review and assess damages as well as complete the reclamation activities.

We are collecting contact information and pertinent details from impacted residents so that we can begin identifying properties that may need reclamation. If your property has been affected due to the wildfire response, please send us an email at engineering@parklandcounty.com or call 780-968-8445. 

 

June 2, 2023

RR70 Wildfire Reclamation Update

 

The RR70 Wildfire is still considered active as crews continue to action hotspots. The fire is classified as Being Held and is not yet under control. It burned deep into underground peat, creating hundreds of hotspots and ash pits requiring a focused effort from our crews to extinguish.

We would like to express our sympathies to residents who endured this event, and our thoughts are with those who suffered damage to their property. We’re going to continue doing everything we can to keep our residents safe and we will assist them as they resume their normal lives.  

After a wildfire, conducting reclamation of fire guards is a crucial step in the post-fire management process. Fire guards, also known as firebreaks, are strategically created areas cleared of vegetation to act as barriers against the spread of fires. Approximately 20 kilometers of fire guard was cut in to slow the RR70 fire. The County will review areas that were damaged due to construction of the firebreaks by County directed forces and will begin to develop a restoration plan to repair, replace or restore these areas. This plan must follow all Provincial Legislation and Regulations and while the County does have authority to impact lands during fire control activities without these approvals, the same does not apply to restoration.

Please note that the County is still working to fully extinguish the fire. Reclamation in areas where there is risk of active fire extending beyond the fire guard will be evaluated very carefully.

The County has a lengthy process ahead, including environmental permitting and approvals that need to be completed, and while we’re embarking on this process now, it may potentially take until summer 2024 to completely finish. In the areas that were impacted by Parkland County fire suppression efforts, reclamation assessment will take place before any work is done. Reclamation activities by the County will occur in the areas that were directly impacted by the County or County directed forces during fire suppression activities. Where possible, the County may conduct early action on open areas that do not have environmental impacts or fire risks.

During reclamation activities, the County will address items such as: fences cut to provide access, driveways damaged from heavy equipment access, and firebreak cut by County forces. Wildfire damaged structures such as burnt fences, fence posts, primary structures and outbuildings are not included in the County’s reclamation activities.

We are collecting contact information and pertinent details from impacted residents so that we can begin identifying properties that may need reclamation. If your property has been affected due to the wildfire response, please send us an email at engineering@parklandcounty.com or call 780-968-8445.