Edmonton fire leaves firefighters confused

Edmonton fire leaves firefighters confused

There’s a campfire smell pushing through Edmonton recently. Something is definitely burning, but it won’t be extinguishing soon.

Edmonton map

The fire is burning east of Anthony Henday Drive between 105 and 111 Avenues, according to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

The smell comes from a peat moss fire burning in a bushed area between 105 and 111 Avenues.

Everyone is confused on when it started or how, but it’s been burning for weeks.

Staff at Optimize Physiotherapy on 185 Street and 104 Avenue know the scent too well.

“It smells like there is a campfire next door,” physiotherapist Seth Waselenchuk told CTV News Edmonton Monday.

“It tends to get better as the day goes on but in the morning, people walk in and ask what is going on.”

Firefighters are well aware of the smell, but aren’t able to figure out how to put it out.

“Underground peat moss fires are extremely challenging to identify and extinguish,” said Brittany Eveneshen from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS).

Edmonton fire smoke

Smoke from a peat fire in west Edmonton in November 2022

“[We are] seeking the expertise of the Alberta Wildfire Coordination Centre and other stakeholders to determine the best solution to mitigating this issue.”

Firefighters have been called to the area six times.

“They’re problematic to deal with, for sure,” said Derrick Forsythe from Alberta Wildfire.

“If it burns into the ground and goes into the peat moss it can sit there for months, kinda chugging along at a slow place with almost no oxygen.”

Forsythe only spoke generally about fires. Since this one is in Edmonton, it’s EFRS’ to deal with.

“It may involve a range [of solutions] from individuals with shovels to dig it out or having to bring in heavy equipment to remove the trees, dig those trenches and get at it,” Forsythe said.

While the area’s city councillor acknowledged it’s “a very complex thing” to extinguish, he hopes it is done soon.

“I have been starting to hear a bit of the odour concern so we need to figure that out going forward,” Andrew Knack said.

There is no risk to the public, Eveneshen said, but she encouraged the people to call 911 if anyone sees flames in the area.

Edmonton fire fighters helicopter

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