Monitoring the May Long Weekend in Southern Alberta

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Jay911

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Okay, we're essentially imminently into May Long. More than a few of the estimated 900 zillion campers expected in McLean Creek and Waiparous Valley recreation areas have already arrived. It would be nice if everyone who was going out there was there to just have good, clean fun, but often the partying gets out of hand and/or people do things beyond their skill levels (with or without alcohol involved). Because of this, law enforcement and other emergency responders are out in full force. RCMP, Alberta Sheriffs, Conservation Officers, Fish & Wildlife, Sustainable Resource Development officers, and other law enforcement officials will be in their vehicles, on foot, in aircraft, and on off-road vehicles to enforce the laws and make sure everyone has a good weekend.

In the McLean Creek area
The RCMP repeater of the area is A15, which is part of the network for Cochrane detachment. If you haven't bothered to click on any links yet, RCMP A15 is 154.83 with tone 123.0.
Sustainable Resource Development in the area is on FireNet channel 129, off the Moose Mountain repeater. Its frequency is 168.795 tone 162.2. If for some reason Alberta Forest Service is called upon to deal with a wildland fire, they would use FireNet 109, which is 167.07 tone 173.8.
Fire response in the area is mainly handled by Alberta Forest Service (above) and Kananaskis Emergency Services, which operates on FireNet; if structural or vehicle fires or car crashes ensue, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services provides initial response before KES's attendance (since KES must respond up Hwy 40, along Hwy 1, down Hwy 22, and then down Hwy 66 to get into the area).
For all medical responses, FREMS is the primary EMS responder. It is entirely possible that if there is a major incident, Cochrane Fire EMS would respond as backup/assistance.
Of course, don't forget the provincial stuff such as STARS and Provincial Ambulance.

If you are going into the area, the emergency number is 9-1-1. Cell phones are somewhat spotty in the area, but there is a telephone at the McLean Creek Camper's Center on McLean Creek Tr, and also phones at the Elbow Visitor's Information Center on Hwy 66 at the park gates (east of McLean Creek), and at the Elbow Fire Base (which used to be the Ranger Station), across from Allen bill on Hwy 66 (west of McLean Creek). Please know your location; McLean Creek is off Hwy 66 south of Bragg Creek. (Also, please note that Hwy 22X is nowhere near Bragg Creek. Many people mistake Hwy 22 for Hwy 22X in this area. West of the Calgary city limits, only the 4-lane-wide part of the highway is 22X; the remainder is Hwy 22, all the way to Bragg Creek.)

In the Waiparous area
The RCMP repeater of the area is B2, which is part of the network for Cochrane detachment. They may or may not use A15 as well. Tac 9 is also used in simplex mode.
Sustainable Resource Development in the area is on FireNet channel 113, off the Mockingbird Hill Lookout repeater.
Fire response in the area is the responsibility of Bighorn Emergency Services. In addition to their VHF frequencies, their comms can be heard on Calgary Digital Radio channel C16 - talkgroup 400 - in order to link in to the dispatch center in Calgary.
For all medical responses, Cochrane Fire EMS is the primary EMS responder. Also note that the Fire portion of this agency could back-up Bighorn for fire responses into this area.
And as I said for McLean Creek, STARS and Provincial Ambulance are going to be very much valid and possible in the area.

Cell phone coverage in Waiparous is much better than in McLean. The emergency number is still, of course, 9-1-1. Knowing your area is again important. The main road up from Hwy 1A (west of Cochrane) is Hwy 940, also known as the Forestry Trunk Road. Major landmarks along this road are the village of Benchlands (where the Ghost Volunteer Fire Department, station #67, is located), the village of Waiparous Creek (which is quite a distance south of the actual camping/recreation sites), the "South Ghost" and "North Ghost" recreation areas, the "Cadet Camp", the "Bar C Ranch", and one of the most important ones to emergency responders, the "Gravel Pit". It would be VERY helpful to 9-1-1 operators if you could pin your location down to near one of these, or at least in between TWO of them, for the emergency responders to come to you.

Having said all that, the comms are going to be very busy from probably tomorrow (Thursday night) onwards through the entire weekend. If you're listening, be ready for some wild action on the airwaves. If you're going, please keep things calm and in control and have a good time!
 

Jay911

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Also - tidbit I neglected to mention:

Fire bans are not in place in either area described above. Some of the areas had serious snow over the past couple of weeks, but temps have been well above freezing (obviously) all this past week and are expected to continue as such all weekend.

Up to date ban info is always available at http://www.albertafirebans.ca.
 

joe3560

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After last years ZOO fest me and the kids will not be going out to Mclean Creek for the long weekend it’s too crazy. I feel sorry for John and his boys who work in Mclean Creek area who have to deal with all those idiots out there. Jay do you have any frequencies for John over in Mclean creek that you have not posted yet. I also hope you and the boys at redwood don’t have to deal with all the crazies out there.
 

Jay911

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The only other frequency for the Elbow zone that I haven't put in the DB is a frequency licensed to Elbow Valley Campgrounds, which is 166.38. In 10+ years of monitoring, I have yet to hear anything on that one. I don't know who John is, so I don't have any further info.

As for the 'wildlife' in these areas, either last year or two years ago (I forget, to be honest), we were called down Fisher West for a vehicle fire. Besides the fact that the roads were only fit for 4-wheel-drives and not at all suited for a large pumper or tanker truck, there were several hundred people in varying levels of intoxication in this campground. The Forestry helicopter made the first recon of the site and found a small sedan rolled over and crushed, burning freely. No one was in it, but literally hundreds of people were around, partying and doing random things. By the time we got there, the car was very toast and there was little to do except put it completely out and make sure it hadn't spread to the forest. That, by the way, was not the first time I've done my job with my back to the back of an RCMP officer with his hand on his TASER holster, and probably won't be the last, either.
 

joe3560

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Ya last year was crazy. every year I take my kids out to see the monster trucks and after what I saw last year ,I will not be going out there on the long weekend it scared me silly being there
 

SCPD

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I'm heading east to the Vulcan area.
Travers Resivour area closest fire area I think is Lomond or Vulcan.

I'm still expecting it to be nuts.
 

robertmac

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Yep, and the fun started around 1900 in Redwood Meadows area. Going to be a LONG week-end. Don't work to hard Jay911.
 

SCPD

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and then..

robertmac said:
Yep, and the fun started around 1900 in Redwood Meadows area. Going to be a LONG week-end. Don't work to hard Jay911.
I never thought this could be a factor, I just caught this bulletin released (edited)

UNSEASONABLY WARM TEMPERATURES COMBINED WITH ABOVE NORMAL
MOUNTAIN SNOW-PACK ARE FORECAST TO PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT RISES ON
MANY RIVERS THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN BC. (CRANBROOK) (WATERTON PARK, GLACIER..... SIGNIFICANT RISES
ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR IN NORTH IDAHO...THE EASTERN SLOPES OF THE
CASCADES.AND THE OKANOGAN HIGHLANDS IN WASHINGTON AND BRITISH COLUMBIA

it would hurt to monitor "Firenet" parks channels.....
 

masonb

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I was out there today.

Lots of activity on Alpha-15, not too much out of any other public saftey stuff.

Lots of FRS, GMRS & CB going out there though. I made sure this year to fit my ATV with a CB
 

yyc_tbird_sc

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Jay, awesome info. I'm able to pickup 109 at my place in bridgeland with only a 2m j-pole on a tripod.

Last year was a gong show! I was out there with SRD helping to keep people out of a washed out stream on Fisher West. About 4:30 - 5, we got the urge to get the hell out of there as people were getting restless. The next day, there was almost nothing left of the temporary fence that had been put up. This year it's alot beefier with barbed wire....we'll see.

I did have to use 109 to call in a burnt '06 Cobalt the weekend after may long last year. We found it on Fisher East while doing a clean up run. The SRD and RCMP staff that came out were impressed that I knew how to call them up (they actually gave me the frequencies on the long weekend).

I'm avoiding the area this year...too much stuff to do around the house and possibly a shift or two at work
 

Jay911

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robertmac said:
Yep, and the fun started around 1900 in Redwood Meadows area. Going to be a LONG week-end. Don't work to hard Jay911.
I just got home. The first call was at 17:39 PM for a report of "smoke near a house". Ultimately 4.8 hectares were consumed, which in real world numbers is.. (thank you google calculator) almost 12 acres. Redwood Meadows had a pump, two bush buggies, a tanker, and a chief on scene with assistance from Cochrane 51 Tank, Springbank 71 Bush Buggy, Calgary 20 Pump, and a helicopter and helitack ground team from the Alberta Forest Service. Fighting the fire was complicated by thick underbrush and a large pile of yard debris and garbage/rubbish that was involved.

I'm-a-gonna go take a nap now... :)
 

heinz_david

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I am currently sitting in my Gazebo - the BBQ is cooking the ribs - the side burner is boiling the sauce - and a little breeze is blowing into the area.

I have all my scanners on - and let the games begin.


For goodness sake - be careful out there this weekend.



Have Fun !


Dave
 

Jay911

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Bragg Creek, Alberta
brechtd said:
I never thought this could be a factor, I just caught this bulletin released
That very same thing is what caused the 1995 floods. We had wicked snowfall that year and June 5/6 was quite warm and very rainy. I do happen to see a bunch of serious snow caps on the mountains on this side of the Divide. Hopefully it comes down out of the hills gradually.

They find burnt-out cars in the "zone" all summer. Whether they're dumped stolen cars (as we have found the case to be more than once), or some poor guy's vehicle that he forgot he even took out there camping, it's often hard to tell.

RMES has been out at that fire scene again today giving a good pounding to the remaining hot-spots. It's all over but the cleaning up.
 
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