Blue Sky Memories

Another in the 100 Stories for 100 Years series produced by Barry Thorson.

Vernice (Towers) Wearmouth talks about the Brushy Ridge fire and cutter rides from the Ranch to Cochrane to attend dances.  It’s a lovely story from a local pioneer of the challenges and joys of living in the area.

The Brushy Ridge Fire 

from an article by Bob Callaway in Big Hill Country page 718

Nov 19, 1936 a day remembered by many for years to come. Winds up to 90 MPH  (150 kmh) fanned a fire that raced across the prairie.

With the gale-force winds driving the fire, there was no fighting it. The year previous had been very dry and the country was dry as tinder. A haystack or field of grass would catch fire and be picked up by the wind and carried a half mile, mile or even two miles only to be set down and start another fire.

Then came a shower of rain, bringing a day of living hell to an end. Men had come from Cochrane, Jumping Pound and Springbank to help fight it. Many different methods were tried. George Callaway tried to plow a fireguard in front of it, to no avail. Lennie Blow rode a truck tarp being dragged behind a truck to try and smother the flames that too, was unsuccessful. The fire continued its course and a drop in the wind and a shower of rain were the only things that stopped it from continuing right into Calgary.

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