Utilizing External Personnel
Presentation by Bart Clark, C.M.P.
Manager, Protective Services
Sturgeon County Fire Chief
About Sturgeon County
located just north of Edmonton
encompasses 911square miles
mix of oil & gas, farming, country
Approx. 19,000 rural residents
About Sturgeon County
2500 Oil & Gas locations
Over 80 rural residential subdivisions
Sturgeon County has co-terminus
boundaries with 15 other municipalities
On-Call (part-time) Fire departments
located in Bon Accord, Calahoo,
Gibbons, Legal, Morinville, Namao, and
Fulltime Fire Chief and Deputy Fire
200 part-time firefighters in seven fire
8 pumper trucks, 5 water tankers, 3
mini-pumper 4 x 4 fast attack units, 3
quad wildland units
Sturgeon County Case Study
Wednesday, May 29th at approximately
10:30 a.m., our 9-1-1Call Answer Centre
received a report of a wildland fire north of
Township Road 570 on Range Road 224.
6 Redwater firefighters, 1 pumper, and 1
tanker dispatched to fire location.
Redwater Fire Chief reports back that we had
a very large out of control forest fire.
First in fire unit
Calls for Assistance Made
Calls for assistance sent out to Bon Accord,
Calahoo, Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons,
Namao, Radway, Strathcona County,
Thorhild Fire Departments and to Sturgeon
County Fire Chief.
County Peace Officers dispatched to secure
roadways, site security.(identified in MEP)
Command Post established at SW corner of
Township Road 572 and Range Road 221.
May 29 @ 1030 hours
Swirling winds out of NW blowing @ 60-75
KPH. Wind gusts to 85 KPH.
RH 21%, Temp. @ +26C
Redwater Fire Department dispatched 1-3200
gal Tanker, 1-1000 Gal Pumper, and crew of
6 firefighters to scene.
Fire Command System established. Level 1
& 2 staging locations established. Fire
Sectors assigned to incoming fire crews.
Emergency Operations Centre
Complex Fire-Incident Command Commenced
1700 hours-Sturgeon County establishes their
Emergency Operations Centre. EOC in effect until June 5.
Fire spotting in multiple directions, sparks traveling
500 meters and resulting in fires. “Out of Control”
2,000 acres involved.
82 homes are located within a 6-km radius.
Residents within 750 meters of the fire area have
1815 hours-2 homes lost to fire.
Reception Centre for evacuees
Evacuees booked into motels.(staff coordinated)
Command requests air support from Alberta Forestry in Lac La
No choppers available at this time. All air support being utilized
for northern Alberta fires.
Fire breaks are unable to hold fire. Fire “Out of Control”
One private wildland contractor hired with a skidder and a 4-
man crew of type 3 firefighters.(identified in MEP)
Town of Gibbons and Redwater assisting. Fire size increasing.
4 skidders on site, 150 firefighters, 2 mini-pumpers, 4
tankers, 8 pumpers 1 private chopper from B.C.
hired, 4 dozers on site, quads. (identified in MEP)
2 more homes lost to fire this day.
Lac La Biche Forestry unable to supply firefighters or
air support at this time. (identified in MEP)
Contact made with Parks Canada ( part of
Elk Island National Park-2 water trucks and
specialized wildland fire staff have been dispatched.
Local Resources “Stretched”
County volunteer firefighters are tiring out.
Many fires occurring throughout county. As many as
7 other fires happening at same time. All neighboring
fire departments are overwhelmed with fire calls.
Multiple agencies involved in helping. Over 200
external personnel on site during the busiest times.
Local industries-Agrium, Williams, and Degussa
offered assistance in form of equipment & staff.
(Identified in MEP)
Salvation Army Mobile kitchen on site.
Local Resources were
Positive Results Using
Incident Command System Controlled the Chaos
Parks Canada staff provided valuable expertise as Sector
Commanders, Operations & Logistics Commanders.
First 6 hours of the fire, the command post received over 400
telephone calls, and over 1000 radio transmissions, plus face-
to-face discussions with every agency that arrived to assist.
Resources overwhelmed as other emergencies continued to
occur: for example, during one 2-hour period, we responded to 2
wildland fires, 2 injury accidents, plus 1 structure fire in other
parts of the County.
All external personnel under supervision at all times
Using External Personnel
SUPERVISE all external personnel, whether they are digging
out fire, hauling water, working in rehab, staffing security points,
Only hire pre-approved external personnel, use pre-authorized
rate schedules, sign off all daily logs.
Utilize experienced staff to supervise sectors.
Armed forces personnel from the Edmonton Garrison, and Dept.
of National Defence were supervised by a District Fire Chief.
The Salvation Army supervised the Rehab Sector.
Road Block/checkpoints supervised by County Peace Officers.
An on-site Financial Officer must sign off all daily logs.
Daily cost accounting is essential, Record everything!
Keep accurate time slips, records of all purchases, clerk on site.
Risk Management of External
Radios, telephones, fire kits for extra firefighters, wildland fast
attack units.(identified in MEP) Provide on-site training, PPE.
Know -Not all dozer operators & private contractors follow
orders-Identify the trained operators and prevent the use of
those poor contractors in future callouts.(identified in MEP)
Some agencies are very aggressive and try to “help”.-ex. A local
search and rescue agency tried numerous times (tied up 9-1-1)
to get permission to come on the fire scene at the Sturgeon
County 2002 fire disaster .
Examples Utilizing External
Staging incoming emergency vehicles
External Resources Pre-Identified
All personnel Must be Pre-
Fees and Charges
Use the Guide
INCIDENT COMMAND SYSTEM
Multiple Agencies Involved:
Municipal: Sturgeon County, Thorhild County, Strathcona
County, Towns of Bon Accord, Gibbons, Legal, Morinville,
Redwater, Radway, Bruderhiem, City of Edmonton, City of Ft.
Provincial:-2 MLA’s, Disaster Services, SRD, Alberta Forestry
Federal: Parks Canada, BC Forestry, National Defence G8
Team, Edmonton Garrison soldiers, RCMP, Salvation Army;
Industries:Agrium, Williams Energy, Degussa;
Contractors & others: dozers, skidders, fixed wing &
choppers, water haulers, Hildebrants, Nodwells, caterers,
portable toilets, wash stations, security personnel, media
personnel, water tank suppliers, fire equipment servicing, fire
Challenges to Encounter:
•Constant pressure to release air support &
demobilize due to cost to municipality.
•Constant pressure from municipality to release
staff-road building, clerks, summer programs.
•Maintaining sustained responses from volunteer
•Some Media will attempt to sneak in as citizen
•Be carefull when contracting local citizens as
equipment operators. Clearing fire breaks is a skill.
Remains of Modular Home
Farm Fuel Drums-some exploded
Don’t Place Personnel at Risk
Positive Results are Pre-
Planning in evacuation of residents saved lives.
Incident Command System saved property & lives
MEP listed who was responsible for site security &
Extra ordinary resources should be preplanned.
Previous disaster training exercises, lessons learned
from 2001 fires, current Municipal Emergency Plan
Inter-municipal cooperation, business community
cooperation & aid need to be developed prior to a
Risk Management limits Liability. (a 2001 litigation
against the County ended in the County’s favour after
seven years in Discovery)
NO LIVES WERE LOST!
Only 4 very minor injuries were sustained during the
entire fire. (one minor cut to a hand, one twisted ankle,
one minor burn to hand, & one sore back)
78 PROPERTIES WERE SAVED -estimate value of $50
million. (private residences, farms)
Fire destroyed 4 homes-1 “stick built”, 3 modular.
Homeowners losses estimated at $1.5 million.
The 2002 Sturgeon County municipal fire costs
exceeded $1,089,900.00. The County recovered 90%
due to pre-approved rate structure and resource listing in