EDMONTON – Three homes in Edmonton’s Wolf Willow neighbourhood suffered extensive fire damage following a brush fire Sunday.
Fire crews were called to a forested area behind a local playground around 3:30 p.m.
Officials believe the wind carried embers from that original fire nearly three blocks to the roofs of three homes.
“With this wind and the blowing embers, it jumped quite a ways in there,” Scott MacDonald said.
The Deputy Fire Chief added burned right through the roofs of two homes, while flames on a third home were contained to the attic.
Ronny Sagi lives nearby and watched the fire spread at an alarming rate. “The wind was very, very, very powerful,” Sagi said.
“Pieces of wood caught on fire and was flying to the roofs,” he said. “That’s how it catches on fire on some of the houses.”
“As everybody knows there’s a fire ban on due to the dry conditions and the wind conditions,” MacDonald said. “So it’s very important everyone works together and obeys the fire ban.
“We’ve had a very large spike for calls about fire pit complaints- almost 50 in the last 24 hours- we just want to get the awareness out there and obey that fire ban.”
Watch Below: The danger of the extremely dry conditions around the province hit close to home. Erin Chalmers joined Global News Morning live from west Edmonton, where a one of several brush fires on Sunday quickly got out of hand and damaged area homes.
Police evacuated several homes in the area as a precaution and brought arson investigators to the scene.
Nobody was injured and the fire has since been brought under control.
The Wolf Willow blaze was one of at least three fires crews were fighting in or near the river valley Sunday afternoon.
Another blaze started at 12:20 p.m. in Buena Vista Park, which is located at River Valley Capitol Hill in west Edmonton.
Twenty-six firefighters fought the brush fire aggressively, setting up a ladder to stop the flames from spreading to the Laurier Heights neighbourhood.
“With the ladder in that spot, we were able to step up a water current to protect the residences,” District Chief Len Mushtuk with Edmonton Fire Rescue said.
Melissa Wilk called 911 after seeing flames just a few feet from her home.
“Once I stepped out into my backyard, there was probably a little bit more than this space between where my house started and where the fire was so it was quite a scary moment,” Wilk said.
“My dad and all his buddies were all getting their hoses out and starting to get the fire before the fire department even got here.”
Fire officials aren’t sure what started the fire. Mushtuk said it doesn’t take much for a fire to start with the extremely dry conditions.
Wilk said the close call gives her an even greater appreciation for what Fort McMurray residents are going through.
“It’s just kind of scary. It’s hard to imagine your whole house burn down or your whole neighbourhood burn down. I can only imagine. I would never want that to happen to me.”
Firefighters battled yet another blaze in the Gariepy Park area near 174 St. and 53 Ave. Sunday evening.
That fire was quickly brought under control but not before some quick thinking residents jumped into action.
“I saw the fire headed towards the sidewalk and a bunch of people standing around and the fire trucks came shortly after,” said Branden Veaudry. “I quickly hopped the fence of this house- to alert them– I saw these guys actually had their hoses out trying to put out the fire and stop it from spreading– it was going quick.”
Gary Kalynchuk’s wife alerted him to the blaze behind a row of nearby houses. He and his sons ran over to help the neighbours fight the flames.
“We tried to make sure flames didn’t get onto the fence there and the roof as best we could– I mean we only had a garden hose,” Kalynchuk said.
Fire crews were able to control the flames near the homes and stop the fire from spreading into the river valley.
“When we got the call it was up here in this bush and starting to threaten the backs of some of these houses,” Captain Darren Hickey said. “With hard work and determination from our crews they got down both sides to stop the leading edge from going down into the river valley.”
A fire ban is in effect for Edmonton and the entire province.
With files from Julia Wong and Sarah Kraus.