In a display of solidarity and cooperation, the Beiseker Fire Department has answered the call for assistance in battling the devastating wildfires that, despite recent rainfall, continue to ravage northern Alberta.
Following a request from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) for additional resources last Monday, the volunteer-based fire department from Beiseker deployed Engine 130 and a dedicated small crew of firefighters to aid in the ongoing wildfire-fighting operations.
Showcasing their commitment to serving their local community and their fellow Albertans in distress, the Beiseker Fire Department sent Engine 130 up north last week.
“I received an email from AEMA where they were looking for apparatus to send up north,” said Beiseker Fire Chief, Nikki King, last Wednesday. “We’ve been deployed to Peace River and we are just in the staging area right now, [so] we are waiting to be sent into the fire.”
King expressed Beiseker firefighters’ determination to aid the affected communities while ensuring their own community still remains protected. After meeting with her deputy chief, she emphasized the decision to send Engine 130 was made after careful consideration and assurance that Beiseker would still have sufficient firefighter coverage in the village.
Tender 130, another local firefighting asset in the village, will remain on standby in Beiseker, in case a response is required to any structure fires that may arise while Engine 130 is deployed up north.
“Our number-one priority is, of course, looking after fire protection in the village of Beiseker, but we talked about what apparatus we could potentially go without and still manage to serve our own community,” she said.
Engine 130 and its crew are already in Peace River, ready to join the task group assembled to combat the wildfires.
As of last Wednesday afternoon, the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard's interactive map revealed there were still 61 active wildfires spread across the province. The situation intensified with an 'out of control' fire raging in the Peace River forest area and fire danger is listed as moderate. To tackle the crisis, authorities continue to enforce a fire ban and OHV restriction, emphasizing the need for caution and vigilance among residents.
As the wildfires continue to disturb the lives of thousands of people in the area, the arrival of firefighting crews from across Alberta – including Beiseker – provides a glimmer of hope for affected residents.
“They are bringing in crews from other jurisdictions and we are just waiting to form a task crew to start fighting the fire,” King said, adding the Beiseker Fire Department's deployment to northern Alberta serves as a testament to the spirit of cooperation and unity that exists among emergency responders across the province.
In the coming days, King said Engine 130 will face the formidable challenge of battling the wildfires head-on.
Beiseker’s fire chief expressed cautious optimism regarding the ongoing wildfire situation in Peace River, stating that while the situation is still volatile, there are signs that the fires are finally starting to be brought under control.
“Fortunately, there’s been quite a bit of rain in Peace River so I think they’ve managed to get some of the fires under control in that area but that's really all I can speak to at this time,” King said.