Lightning strike sends GF firefighters hiking uphill

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
July 9th, 2013

Smoke could be seen on the hill across from the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (USCC) community centre, Monday, after lightning struck a tree.

When firefighters from Grand Forks Fire Rescue attended the scene they found there was no road access so they had to hike up to the fire with water packs on their backs and tools in hand.

“It was about a 10 to 15 minute hike,” said fire chief Dale Heriot, noting the volunteer firefighters are trained for this type of situation.

Thanks to heavy rain that accompanied the lightning strike, the fire did not ignite quickly and firefighters were able to control it before it spread. Ten firefighters worked on site for just over an hour before determined it was extinguished.

“There was just some small stuff burning on the ground and it was a little burnt up the tree from the lightning strike,” said Heriot.

It’s not unusual for the local fire department to attend a variety of fire calls, especially in the dry summer months. According to Heriot, the entire fire department put in 10,000 volunteer hours last year and they continue to upgrade their training so they can handle a variety of calls.

“We get this kind of call from time to time,” said Heriot, of the lightning strikes.

The fire hall received two calls from lightning strikes yesterday. The second was on Granby Road but they were unable to find any signs of fire.

“It could still spark. That happens sometimes but we weren’t able to find anything when we were there,” said Heriot.

Residents that see a lightning strike are encouraged to call 911.

Now that the dry summer months are here, there is also a burning ban on open fires, which went into effect July 8.

Categories: General