Wheels for wildfires in the Thousand Islands region
Ontario’s Front of Yonge FD set to receive brush fire suppression arsenal
Greg Halladay would prefer it if his volunteer firefighters were exhausted after battling a blaze, not beforehand.
But when the Township of the Front of Yonge Fire Department gets called to a brush fire, the sweat is pouring long before his colleagues feel the heat.
“In the case of brush fires, there are other departments in the area with ATVs, but our guys have had to backpack in thousands of feet of hose half a mile into the bush—and they end up being dead tired before they even start fighting that fire,” says Halladay, fire chief with the Front of Yonge FD, nestled along the St. Lawrence River between Kingston and Brockville in eastern Ontario.
“We’ve also got a lot of Parks Canada trails in this township—probably about 25 to 30 kilometers of hiking trails,” he adds. “On any given weekend, there could be 200 people out there walking those trails, and it can take some time to reach someone who’s broken their leg.
“Having an ATV of our own will certainly be a godsend.”
By April 2017, just in time for grass fire season, the 25 volunteers with Front of Yonge FD expect to have an ATV to call their own.
With an 18-foot enclosed wildfire trailer, a four-wheeled ATV, and a smaller trailer to store water packs, hose, pumps, brooms and shovels, Front of Yonge FD will arrive on the scene well-equipped—and with infinitely more reserves of energy.
The $30,000 package will be purchased through community fundraising, the department’s capital budget dollars, and industry donations.
Through our Safe Community program, Enbridge actively supports the first responders who save lives and protect the safety of people and property near our projects and operations.
Since 2002, we’ve invested more than $9.3 million in grant money to emergency response organizations across North America. We also invested nearly $400,000 across Ontario in Safe Community grants in 2016—and that includes a recent $10,000 donation for Front of Yonge FD’s wildfire equipment initiative.
“Last spring, some people were using an incinerator in a rural area, and the sparks started a fire that spread up over a hill and took out a house,” says Halladay.
“Starting this year, we’ll have all our brush-fighting equipment in one place. We get a call, hook the trailer on to our half-ton (truck), and off we go—a positive impact on our response, in a big way.”