Fire department, neighbours team up to save historic farm

Facebook photo

The Lakeland fire department and a number of local farmers are being credited for their work saving a local landmark from a brush fire over the weekend.

An unattended fire left by a camper turned into a large brush fire Saturday at Hanson Hill, an 80-year-old farm built by Palmer Hanson and his father Peter.

While the fire department was quick to attend and fight the flames, so were several neighbours, using large tilling machines pulled by tractors to build a fire guard around the flames and around the historic barn.

According to Lakeland fire chief Chris McShannock, six tractors arrived at the farm and helped firefighters control the blaze.

“If they wouldn’t have been there and helped us like they had, that fire would still probably be burning and there would be a significant loss of a lot of crop.”

According to McShannock, the first tractor created a guard around the barn. While the fire was a ways from the building, had it gotten closer, that guard would have been a huge help.

The fire appears to be a campfire someone had set up that got away in the morning.

“Someone had slept along the bush line the night before and they got cold so they lit a fire to stay warm,” McShannock said.

“When they left in the morning, the fire either wasn’t out or the wind restarted the fire, and it jumped to the bush and then into the field near the house.”

The fire burned about 137 acres of land.

Martin Hanson is one of the main family members associated with the family farm. He was out of town in Manitoba when he heard about the fire. He’s grateful for the work the fire department and his neighbours did to protect the land.

“They did a super job,” he said.

“Without them, we would have lost the building for sure. Had it gotten into the trees of the windbreak it would have been pretty hard to stop. I as really touched that I’ve still got neighbours that will do stuff for you without asking any questions, just taking care of business.”

The Hanson family put up a Facebook post thanking the community and the firefighters for their work saving the farm.

“Thanks to the heroic actions of the Lakeland Fire Department and wonderful neighbours Hugh Skotheim, Derek Neurauter, Brian Neurauter, Joe Gill, Dave Gill, Lillian Jacobson, Lonnie Jacobson, Brian Andres, Colin Macdonald, and Roland Nagy, the historic farm site at Hanson’s Hill was saved from being destroyed by a large fire that started in the field on Saturday, Sept 2nd,” the post said.

‘We truly have a wonderful community around Spruce Home, Christopher Lake, North Side, Paddockwood and Prince Albert, where (our) family made their home for so long Thank you from all generations of the Hanson family!”

Martin Hanson added to that statement.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “Can’t say enough good about the fire department.”

A fire ban remains in place in the Lakeland District, as does a provincial ban south of the Churchill River due to hot, dry conditions and heavy winds.