Having access to water source dugouts helps the County's fire services protect our community from fire. by giving them access to water so they can put out fires any time of the year. These essential water sources allow firefighters to access alternative water throughout the County to help put out fires faster and more effectively - anytime of the year. 

Why dugouts are important

Our goal is to have dedicated water sources pre-determined and mapped across the region to build a water source database for our fire services to access. The benefits of this include:

  • Faster refilling of water tenders
  • Improved response times for our fire services
  • Significant reduction in the chance of the fire spreading to nearby properties

Over time with the correct number of dedicated water sources in place, you may see lower residential fire insurance rates

We need your help

If you're a property owner, you can help with fire suppression by providing access to dedicated water sources (dugouts) on your property. In order to qualify:

  • The dugout must be accessible year-round, including during heavy snowfalls.
  • The dugout must be located on or near a paved or maintained roadway.
  • We must have the ability to modify the dugout by adding a standpipe.
  • You must be willing to sign a release.

If you have a water source that meets the criteria and would like to be included in this database, please contact the Regional Fire Service at 780-532-9727.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about water source dugouts? View our frequently asked questions or contact Regional Fire Service at 780-532-9727 for further questions.

What is a water tender?

A water tender is a “tank truck” that is typically a single or tandem axel truck with a water tank ranging in size from 1,800 gallons to 3,000 gallons.

What is a standpipe?

A standpipe is a piping system installed in a dugout that allows the fire department to connect to it and draft (suck) water out of the dugout. These systems are specifically designed so they will not freeze and are built with screens in place to stop debris from being drawn into the water tank.

Will helicopters use my dugout?

Possibly. During a large fire event, the County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service may utilize any water source necessary to mitigate the incident. This applies to any contractors or external agencies that may be operating with us.

Who else will have access?

Only the County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service and our contract partners will have initial access. If other agencies are requested to assist with fire suppression, they will be authorized as well.

If the County installs a standpipe, what work will be required and who will cover the cost of that work?

Fire pond standpipes are specifically designed for use in dugouts. Some work will be required to the bank during installation. This will be done by a professional excavator service and paid for by the County of Grande Prairie. Once installed, the County will maintain the access point to ensure fire trucks do not get stuck. We do ask that in a heavy snowfall, if possible, property owners plow access to the fire pond.

Is there a difference between a fire pond and a dugout?

A fire pond is a water source purposely built to supply water for fire suppression, usually in a commercial setting. A dugout can be standardized with a standpipe to be used as a water supply but is not designated solely for that purpose.

Is there anything else I can do to help?

Yes. Once a dugout has been dedicated for use by the County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service, accessibility is a priority. In the event of a heavy snowfall, we ask property owners to plow the access points to fire ponds, if possible. If there is any noticeable difference in water volume, please notify fire administration at 780-532-9727.