Passing train likely sparked wildland fire: Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service says a passing train is likely responsible for sparking a wildfire Sunday evening. File / Global News

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) believes a passing train is responsible for starting a wildfire which consumed railway debris and several hundred metres of grass Sunday night.

Crews responded to the blaze near the railway track at Fermor Avenue and Plessis Road shortly after 7:00 p.m.

The WFPS says no one was injured and nearby businesses and structures avoided damage. The fire was declared under control at around 9:00 p.m.

READ MORE: Canada’s wildfire season expected to be ‘well above average’: Natural Resources Canada

It credits the city’s new wildland fire apparatus, nicknamed the “Bison,” along with other specialized wildland-urban firefighting equipment, for quickly bring the fire under control.

“Specialized training, tools, and equipment can go a long way toward quickly containing, confining, and then extinguishing fires in grassy areas,” Ihor Holowczynsky, assistant chief of fire/rescue operations, said in a news release last month.

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Winnipeg has two of the new Bisons, which sit atop military-grade tires and can shoot water from a mounted turret controlled from inside the cab.

Specially-designed wildland firefighting apparatuses, nicknamed the “Bisons,” owned by the city of Winnipeg. Handout / City of Winnipeg

The two heavy-duty vehicles complement Winnipeg’s existing wildfire armada of a Wildland Fire Emergency Response Unit trailer, a tow vehicle and an all-terrain vehicle.

READ MORE: More than 100 people evacuated to Dauphin, Man., after fire

The WFPS says it responded to 189 wildland fires in 2019, and 228 the year prior.

The city is also urging property owners to remain vigilant heading into the summer months. They’re encouraged to properly clean up dry vegetation, brush, and tree branches, and pay extra attention to watering plants and grass within 10 meters of homes or structures.

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