If you see smoke and hear explosions near Warfield this weekend, don’t worry.
It’s part of the 44 Engineer Squadron’s training exercise at the Stoney Creek demolition range and training area, about two kilometers north of the village.
Major Nils French says the exercise will run from Friday through Sunday with soldiers practicing winter operations and demolitions skills. The exercise will involve light vehicles and heavy trucks.
On Friday night and through the day on Saturday the soldiers will fire blank rounds and may use pyrotechnics including flares and smoke. People in the area can expect to hear several loud explosions from mid-day through to the early evening on Saturday.
Area residents will likely see military vehicles traveling between the Trail Armoury and the training area throughout this period, French said.
You’re advised to stay out of the range and comply with all signs, barriers, and gates. Unauthorized entry into the area at any time is trespassing and presents a number of risks, including those relating to unexploded ordnance and the active use of explosives.
44 Engineer Squadron is a Canadian army reserve unit that has armouries in Trail and Cranbrook. Soldiers serve part time from September to May on Thursday evenings and one weekend per month. Members also complete specialized training in summer. To learn about joining the squadron text or call a recruiter at 236-888-9117.
French said exercises are held several times a year. The Stoney Creek training area was last used about a month ago by 105 soldiers from Edmonton. Another exercise was also conducted in late October by the 44 Engineers.
“Either ourselves or other unit will use that training area anywhere between two and fives a year for various things.” The winter training is conducted annually.
“It’s important for us to be able to operate day or night regardless of the weather in all conditions,” French said.” We need to be able to work in winter no matter how cold it is, no matter how severe it gets. Any function we perform we need to do in all seasons.”
Demolitions and explosives can be used in a variety of ways, he added. In the Kootenays, the squadron has decommissioned dams, restored wetland areas, and to put in cat tracks at Red Mountain and blast boulders on ski runs.
“There are a number of important skills and safety procedures and we need practice in order to do that effectively,” French said.