Stampede straw bales must be fire safe, officials warn

Calgary fire officials say anyone decorating for Stampede must ensure that straw bales are properly treated.

Calgary fire officials say anyone decorating for Stampede must ensure that straw bales are properly treated.

"We're not just talking about a bail or two,  we're talking about hundreds in some locations," said Ed Kujat, who coordinates inspections for the fire department.

"Loose straw is like having a bunch of loose papers that's easily lit on fire."

Straw bale used for decoration — if placed near public structures — must be doused with fire retardant, compressed, bound with metal wiring and dried by evaporation, according to city rules.

Stampede is a busy time for safety shop owner Randy Repas, who sells fire retardants such as Pyroguard.

"We've sold quite a bit in the last month or so," he said.