Despite a lower number of fires, County of Grande Prairie Regional fire service did see an increase in call volumes last year. Fire chief Everett Cooke attributes that to more medical co-response and motor vehicle collision calls. In his year end report to County council, Cooke said there was also a slight decrease in the number of fire permits issued last year.

“We did see over 16 hundred new permits issued for new types of burning.  So that would be for anything from recreational fire pits through to burning hand piled brush piles for example.  Another 14 hundred permits last year were also phoned in and renewed.”

Cooke says 2013 was also a good year for recruitment, adding they now have over 130 trained, paid on call fire fighters across their five rural stations.