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Monday, August 2, 2021
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Sweat Lodge deemed cause of large grass fire Sunday on Blood Reserve

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STANDOFF, AB – A large grass fire which tore through parts of the Blood Reserve near the St. Mary Reservoir Sunday now has a cause.

Fire officials in Standoff have determined the blaze was the result of sweat lodge. During the height of the wind storm, gusts on the Blood Reserve were clocked at 111 km/h.

Blood Tribe Fire Chief, Jacen Abrey received a call just after noon Sunday (Mar. 28) about a grass fire near Highway 509. With the strong wind, it quickly spread and eventually took out 15,000 acres of land stretching over 28 kilometres wide.

Fire crews from Coaldale, Raymond and Magrath as well as local Hutterite colonies pitched in to help out. Over 30 fire fighters from the Blood Tribe fought the flames as well, working the scene for more than 12 hours using five fire trucks.

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Equipment operators running tractors with discs managed to create a fireguard to help contain the blaze from spreading.

Tribe officials say the sweat lodge was taking place near Highway 509 when the wind picked up. No one was injured.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of New Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

On a personal note, Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and funeral assistant since 2016.

Pat is engaged to Tarah and he has two kids and two step-children.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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