Wildfire Risk Prompts Setting Lake Community Action

The last Sunday in May was a cool one, And, except for a few showers, it was a perfect day for a work bee – Setting Lake’s first Wildfire Preparedness Day!

Dozens of outstanding community volunteers, members of Manitoba Wildfire Service, and the Setting Lake Fire Department spent the day FireSmarting the firehall – cutting a firebreak around the community’s command and communication centre – as cottagers took the first steps in learning how to make their own properties more wildfire resilient.

MB Wildfire Service, Setting Lake Fire Department and Volunteers

Photo credit: Jeff Henry

Cutting the Firebreak

Photo credit: Donna Henry

Setting Lake’s first Wildfire Preparedness Day will be remembered for two things – a fabulous community feast – and a work bee that saw a record amount of forest cleared in a short period of time. According to Setting Lake Fire Chief Jeff Henry, “We got twice as much work done in half the time. We planned to spend the entire day clear-cutting a thirty-foot buffer around the firehall. Instead, in just four hours, we were able to cut a forty-five-foot firebreak – an area one and a half times as large as we’d hoped for. That we were able to do that is, in large part, due to efforts of Ghislain Lavoie, the cottager we all know as “Monkey”.

“Monkey donated his services and his Kubota to grab huge clam-loads of freshly cut brush from the cutting area and deliver it to the staging areas. This is normally a time-consuming, labour-intensive job; the brush has to be dragged by hand or carried by the armload. To their credit, our hard-working volunteers kept up with the Kubota, racing to fill trailers and hauling load after load to the landfill. The landfill crew was kept just as busy unloading trailers. It was a real team effort!

Monkey’s Kubota Hauling Brush to Staging Area

Photo credit: Margaret Friesen

Aime Valois and Jason Cowan Loading Brush

Photo credit: Donna Henry

Jeff added, “I want to thank the Wildfire Service crews that made this happen. Many of these guys are the heroes who were fighting the recent fires around Cranberry Portage.

I also want to recognize the fire department’s administrator who secured the Wawanesa Insurance grant that is funding Setting Lake’s new Cottage Rooftop Sprinkler Incentive Program. Please feel free to contact me at firechief@stttinglake,ca for information about the sprinkler system rebate or for assistance in doing a FireSmart assessment of your property. A Setting Lake volunteer firefighter will stop by to help you identify areas of risk and provide recommendations to improve your property’s resilience to wildfire.”

Setting Lake Cottage Owners Association president, Joe Correia thanks the volunteers and everyone who had anything to do with putting the event together.

“Events like this don’t just happen without hard work and dedication from all. Special thanks to the men and women who brought trailers to haul brush and those that prepared the meal. Thanks to those of you who donated ingredients, made salads, and baked desserts. And special thanks to SLCOA’S sponsor – Red’s Septic Service – for donating the essentials – portable toilets – and for donating a holding tank pump-out for the rooftop sprinkler system incentive draw.”

“This was a tremendous success and the quality of workmanship in the presentations was first class.  The food and desserts were second to none and from the comments, no one went hungry.”

“Thanks to Shauna Kortz and the Wildfire Service crew and thanks to Wawanesa Insurance and Fire Smart for awarding Setting Lake Cottage Owners Association the rooftop sprinkler system and Wildfire Prep Day grants.” Joe added, “Please do your part in making Setting Lake a Recognized FireSmart Neighbourhood.”

Chris Sylvester and Wildfire Mitigation Forester, Shauna Kortz

Photo credit; Margaret Friesen

Photo credit: Margaret Friesen

Destiny Werstroh, constituency assistant to Thompson Constituency MLA Eric Redhead brought greetings from the Government of Manitoba. “We were so happy to be able to attend the Wildfire Preparedness Day event at Setting Lake this past weekend. Seeing the dedicated firefighters working to keep the community safe by educating residents on home protection in the event of a wildfire was amazing. The residents of Setting Lake were motivated to protect their cabins and those of others around them and the education that was offered to residents and the staff from our office of MB Wildfire Service was invaluable.”

“The drought conditions that we are facing this year bring up the reality that we need to be prepared for anything this wildfire season. Residents and presenters highlighted the importance of having seventy-two hours of supplies in the event that there is a last-minute evacuation and even gave examples of what could be packed inside. Thank you to SLCOA for the invitation as I know it has motivated our office to prepare for wildfires in a way we hadn’t already considered.”

SLCOA Director, Margaret Friesen will be at the firehall on June 2nd at 9am and at the June 9th community clean up BBQ for those who would like to pick up copies of the Canadian Red Cross’ Buy or Build a Kit, the Grab and Go Checklist for Seniors, the Household Emergency Plan and the Setting Lake Cottage Owner’s FireSmart Handbook at the firehall.

Margaret Friesen Explains How to Use an Emergency Response Information Kit

Photo credit: Donna Henry

Jason Kehler, MB Wildfire Service Helitac Officer,

Demonstrates a Rooftop Sprinkler System

Photo credit: Donna Henry

And finally, just a reminder to Wildfire Prep Day volunteers – you are welcome to pick up firewood from the firehall. 

Photo Gallery of Wildfire Preparation Day

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