"They're stupid" 

Some harsh messaging from Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES) Fire Chief Rob Evans after responding to a call yesterday when someone left hot coals under a tree. 

It happened in Bragg Creek Provincial Park, a place he describes as a "nice day-use area, where families come out and have picnics."

This came one day after the Special Air Quality statement was lifted from the area after being blanketed in smoke from British Columbia wildfires.

"We got a call from someone cleaning up garbage," he explains. "They found some ashes under a tree that was burning. They didn't have cell service so they came into our town office, called 911 from there, and got us going to the scene." 

The area was about three-feet wide where people had dumped ashes under a big spruce tree.

"When I got there, it had just broken into open flame. We got the call just in time."

Evans said luckily he was sitting in a dentist's chair in Bragg Creek, not far away, when he got the call. 

"If I hadn't been there in my personal vehicle with a shovel in the back of my truck to overturn it, it would have gotten into the canopy and into those trees. Luckily, there weren't a lot of trees around it, but it would have gone right up into that spruce tree and been a lot worse, a lot quicker."

Evans said a lot of his job is focused on fire prevention and education, but cases like this are frustrating. 

"I'm pretty harsh in saying stupid people, but this instance was stupid."  

RMES operates with 23 volunteers. Evans said they are actively recruiting right now and would like to have 36 members.

The department typically responds to approximately 400 emergencies every year, including backcountry rescues in Kananaskis Country and the McLean Creek area. Their volunteers invest almost 15,000 hours annually in serving Redwood Meadows and the greater Bragg Creek area.

Those interested in volunteering can learn more HERE. 

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, CochraneNow encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the CochraneNow app.