red deer advocate, june 09, 2015

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June 09, 2015 edition of the Red Deer Advocate

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  • Red Deer AdvocateTUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2015

    Your trusted local news authority www.reddeeradvocate.com

    Four sectionsAlberta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A3Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . B5,B6Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A5,A6Classified . . . . . . . . . . . .D1,D2Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D4Entertainment . . . . . . . . C5,C6Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B1-B4

    INDEX

    PLEASE RECYCLE

    G7 puts Canada on the spot

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the energy sector will have to transform itself to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

    Story on PAGE A5FORECAST ON A2

    WEATHER 30% showers. High 22. Low 11.

    The Indian spice

    rack holds the secret

    to cooking mastery D6

    Red Deer area among the top 10 lightning hot spots

    Heat, lack of raininflame wildfire risk

    BY SUSAN ZIELINSKIADVOCATE STAFF

    The Red Deer area ranked fifth among FortisAl-bertas top 10 lightning hot spots in 2014.

    FortisAlberta owns more than 60 per cent of Albertas total electrical distribution net-work, with more than 120,000 km of most-ly overhead power lines. It monitors light-ning strikes in its 55 major service areas.The Red Deer service area, which is 2,700 square km and stretches from Red Deer to Innisfail, saw 1.82 strikes per square kilometre and a total of 4,861 lightning strikes in 2014.

    The Bassano service area had the most strikes at 3.32 per square kilometre and 8,407 total strikes dur-ing lightning season, which runs from late spring to September.

    In 2014, a total of 210,000 lightning strikes were recorded in FortisAlbertas 55 major service areas, according to data collected by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

    As a rural electricity distributor, FortisAlberta does not operate in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge or Red Deer. The City of Red Deer provides service to its residents.

    Blair Debaar, FortisAlberta communications spe-cialist, said surge protectors called lightning arres-tors are used by electrical power systems to divert lightning currents in order to bypass equipment like transformers. That reduces power outages and dam-age to equipment.

    The power behind a lightning bolt is very high so it can cause damage. These arrestors stop it. Based on what we see, on patterns, well tend to put more lightning arrestors in a hot spot, Debaar said.

    More arrestors are installed if a service area regularly lands in FortisAlbertas top 10 lightning hot spots.

    The Red Deer area was not in the top 10 in 2013. Information was not available for other years.

    FortisAlberta also uses storm tracking technol-ogy to monitor weather patterns and predict where trouble could occur, in order to prepare with extra resources.

    Some lightning storm safety tips: Take shelter when you can count 30 seconds or

    less between lightning and thunder. Disconnect electronics and electrical appli-

    ances, including radios and televisions, before the storm hits. Remain indoors if possible and stay away from

    anything that will conduct electricity such as radia-tors, sinks and metal pipes. Only use battery-operated appliances. Cellphones are the safest form of communica-

    tion. If caught outside, stay away from objects that

    conduct electricity like water, tractors, golf clubs and carts, motorcycles, lawn mowers and bicycles. Avoid being the tallest point in an open area. Stay away from tall objects like trees, hilltops

    and poles.szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

    BY SUSAN ZIELINSKIADVOCATE STAFF

    The risk of wildfires is now rated as high for Rocky Wildfire Management Area.

    Early last week, the wildfire hazard was down to moderate for the area that stretches east to Rocky Mountain House, west to the national parks, north to Drayton Valley and south to the Sundre area.

    Kris Heemeryck, wildfire prevention officer out of Rocky Mountain House, said the risk has increased due to increasing temperatures and winds, and little precipitation.

    Weve increased the resources we have in the district in anticipation of some more lightning mov-ing through and new starts. Weve upped the man-power and equipment we have available, Heem-eryck said on Monday.

    Two small lightning fires were extinguished over the weekend, one north of Alder Flats and the other northwest of Rocky Mountain House. Another fire in the garbage dump at OChiese First Nation is under control and continues to be monitored.

    He said lightning has been causing the fires late-ly.

    We havent had any campfires issues of late. We lifted the fire ban and that still hasnt brought us any issues. But the potential is still there if people are not careful.

    Forty wildfires are burning in Albertas Forest Protection Area. More than 1,300 firefighters and 149 helicopters are in position across the province.

    To report wildfires, call toll-free 310-FIRE (3473).For information on fire bans, call 1-866-FYI-FIRE

    (394-3473).szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

    RANCHTRACKERRANCHTRACKERBY MURRAY CRAWFORD

    ADVOCATE STAFF

    Riding tall in his saddle, surveyingthhttt e forest, keeping his ears open for eeve en the faintest sound and his eyes ppepp eled for a glimpse of his prey, JoelMMaM rtens patrols Heritage Ranch in seess arch of the latest group to try to out-ruun him, hide from him and outwit him.

    Taking a cue from the popular TVSShow Mantracker, Heritage Ranch offers a similar experience: the thrill of being a a fugitive and being chased by Martens.

    Heritage Ranch has offered the RRanchtracker experience for about thhree years. Martens estimates theyve ddone the chase 40 to 50 times, and per-hhaps more.

    Groups have ranged from small duos, inncluding local Red Deer RCMP mem-bbers, to stagette parties and corporate eevents with as many as 50 people.

    In one instance, four couples compet-eed to see who could make it the longest ororo find the last flag.

    Describing one Ranchtracker event ffooffoffor r a stagette, Martens said balloons wwweweweewwwwewwewwwewwwwwwwwwwww rererrer s s s tete u upp ppp ththrorouguggghohoutut H Hererititagagggee RaRancnchh

    and each had a prize inside.As they were going through, they y

    could choose to pop the balloon and see e what the prize was or they could take iitttwith them, said Martens.

    Popping the balloon would alert Marr-tens to a persons location, but carryinng g a balloon would also prove cumbersome ee while trying to hide.

    Spread out over the some 200 acres oof f f f Heritage Ranch are four flags. The huntt---ed have 90 minutes to two hours to findd ddthe flags before Martens finds them.

    So theres a time pressure andd dtheyre rushing through it, trying to finddthe flags, said Martens. I give themmmabout a 15-minute head start and then I Ileave the ranch on my horse.

    He looks the part, too. Sporting a flann-nel shirt and a cowboy hat, Martens paa-trols the ranch looking for signs of theeguests lurking in the forest.

    As the time ticks down, I start to narr--row in on them, said Martens. It getts spretty intense.

    There are some really good chaseessat the end usually.

    HERITAGE RANCH OFFERS THE THRILL OF BEING A FUGITIVE ON THE RUN

    Please see TRACKER on Page A2

    Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

    Heritage Ranch operator Joel Martens is on a mission and when he and his horse Hummer team up to track you down, you better be fast. Hummer loves a good chase, says Martens, who is offering his own version of the TV show Mantracker at Heritage Ranch.

    LIGHTNING SCORE

    IN DYING MINUTES TO LEAD SERIES

    PAGE B1

  • A2 RED DEER ADVOCATE Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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    TRACKER: Boasts about an 80% success rate

    He auditioned as the replacement for Terry Grant, of High River, on Mantracker. Martens said he was in the top 12 but didnt make the final cut. Chad Savage Lenz, of Caroline, would become Mantracker for the seventh and final season of the show.

    Tracking a few people in the park may be difficult

    enough, but combine it with the regular pedestrian traffic in Heritage Ranch and it can be a challenge for Martens.

    But he boasts about an 80 per cent success rate when it comes to fin