A busy night for Winnipeg firefighters after battling a dozen blazes over a twelve hour period.
Crews were dispatched to 12 calls between 7:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday that ranged from minor brush and a garbage fires to a pair of backyard fires that caused significant damage.
President of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg, Alex Forrest fears the string of fires will continue as the temperature continues to rise.
“I haven’t seen it this dry in a long time,” Forrest said.
“The margin of error for firefighters is getting smaller and smaller to be able to get there to mitigate damages.”
7:26 p.m: fire in park at 750 Tache Avenue
7:28 p.m: two bush fires on Waterfront Drive and Heaton Avenue
7:35 p.m: youths set fire in bush at 2795 Ness Avenue
9:38 p.m: fence and trash bin fire at 450 McGee Street
10:33 p.m: garbage fire on 600 Redwood Avenue
10:58 p.m: garbage fire at 81 Grandmont Boulevard
11:37 p.m: fire at 435 Sherbrook Street
12:09 a.m: fire at Waterfront and Higgins
3:50 a.m: car fire at College Avenue and McPhillips Street
4:23 a.m: house fire at 660 Waterloo Street
5:36 a.m: garbage bin fire at 1180 Wilkes Avenue
6:58 a.m: garbage bin fire at 581 Aberdeen Avenue
Many of the fires were likely started intentionally, according to Forrest. It has caused a strain on the service they provide as firefighters and paramedics.
“We place the remaining resources in a way so we can still get to medical emergencies and fires, but what happens is instead of a three minute response, you might have a six minute or an eight minute response time and that just makes it harder again for firefighters when there is an incident.”
WPS Arson Awareness Week
Winnipeg Police have confirmed 11 arson investigations in the first three days of May, which compares to 10 arsons for the same period in 2015.
Winnipeg Police are asking homeowners to be vigilant and identify proper risk factors in the neighbourhood.
Steps To Reduce Arson Risk
- Reporting discarded furniture or other large garbage items to 311.
- Avoid placing bins, garbage or other combustible items against the exterior of your home, garage, shed or fence. These are a ready supply of fuel for an arsonist.
- Placing your new garbage / recycling containers out in the morning on the day of pickup (before 7:00 A.M. but not the night before). Secure them in a safe place on your property as soon as possible after collection.
- Cleaning up overgrown shrubs and trees. They also can be a source of fuel for an arsonist.
- Not leaving flammable liquids in the open. (Ensure proper storage of flammable material, i.e.:gas cans, propane tanks).
- Ensuring that your house, garage and shed are well secured and that exterior lighting be maintained, i.e.motion sensor lights.
- Removing abandoned vehicles.
- Organizing or participating in the Citizens on Patrol Program or Neighborhood Watch Programs.
- Speaking with your neighbors and encourage each other to contact police if anything suspicious is observed.
With files from Global Winnipeg