Wabasca Fire Department serves the Hamlet of Wabasca, the surrounding oil & gas industrial areas and parts of Hwys 813 and 754 within the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17. Upon request, we also assist Sandy Lake Fire Department, Bigstone Cree Nation Fire Department and ESRD’s wildfire unit crews. In early 2015, our department became one of the few volunteer fire departments in Alberta to have majority of our members acquire full NFPA 1001 certification.
In June of 1977, the Wabasca Volunteer Fire Department was officially registered under the Ministerial Act of the Municipal Affairs Department. Servicing the then Wabasca-Desmarais and the area, the Department was headed by Bruce Rathbone as the Fire Chief and Ed Coswan as Assistant Fire Chief. In June 1979, ten volunteers from the Wabasca Fire Department underwent fire training provided by the then Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.
In November 1979, two fire incidents destroyed the Mistassiniy School and the new health clinic in Desmarais. Both causes were determined to be arson. These events highlighted the importance of a well equipped and trained fire department, and also the deficiencies in community’s water supply. Over the years the fire department slowly acquired additional financial assistance, equipment and fire trucks.
The Wabasca Fire Hall has had many homes, including the transportation yard at the local Municipal District Office. The four apparatus currently in use – two pump trucks, one rescue truck, and one water tender – were acquired from Rocky Mountain Phoenix Inc. beginning in 2009. In 2010, the new Bruce Rathbone Fire Hall at 2135 Airport Road was completed.
Today, the department consists of a core team of dedicated firefighters and dispatchers.