A fire ban has been in effect since Aug. 10, which included county ditches not being mowed.
However, weeds have grown to the height of cars in some areas and have become a problem, and during the Sept. 5 meeting, council approved Coun. Michelle Mckenzie’s motion to amend the R 20 Gravel Road Maintenance policy.
The notable change came under the Roadside and Mowing Spraying maintenance guidelines where a trained fire guardian will follow a minimum of 1000 metres behind the mower during extremely dry and hot weather. Conditions will be monitored by the directors of public works and municipal services daily and could temporarily suspend roadside mowing.
“I’m the culprit of last year,” said Coun. Shane Hok, who represents the Redcliff/Highway 523 North area on council.
“So more just west of my place, when they were out cutting on a weekend in fairly strict, dry conditions. I have a photo passed around of a fire truck following the mower that day, looking in the back of the box, he could not find the pump. If that fire would have got going, that day, I (Hok’s place) would have been burnt down.
“I was told when I complained about this that Cypress County went out there and looked at it and that it was an adequate fire truck. Our neighbours are all very nervous right now.”
Hok would have liked to have seen a wind addition to the policy and Coun. Dustin Vossler had suggested to combine the temperature, relative humidity and wind app altogether.
However, with Vossler being a county firefighter, he is confident that fire chief Kelly Meyer is capable of predicting conditions with the help of tools to see where the line is of fires getting out of control.
“As it sits the way it’s written, no,” said Vossler.
“I’m sorry to say but nothing against our directors, they’re not adequately trained to make that call.”
The policy read before the amendments was a fire guardian would be 1.6 kilometres behind the mower and all roadside mowing will terminate when a “fire ban” is on.