Obviously $200,000 of damage due to a grass fire, is not a laughing matter. And that was the case in Calgary last weekend. A grass fire in the Springbank area (just outside Calgary, Alberta) scorched more than a kilometer of tinder dry grassland and destroyed some barns, vehicles, and just about everything else. A number of houses were endangered and the occupants evacuated.

The perpetrator of the crime, whose name still remains a mystery, but he has come forward, and his story is a classic. In keeping with the movies Caddy Shack and Mouse Hunt, our intrepid hero had a rodent problem on his property. In this particular case Gophers, or, as they are more regally known as, Richardson’s Ground Squirrels. They are every land owners nightmare! They dig complex intersecting burrows, and breed like ‘Gophers’, they make Rabbits look like they practice abstinence!

Gophers will ruin your golf course, lawn, or pasture.

So how did this grass fire start? This is where it becomes a surreal Hollywood script. Our intrepid hero decided to rid himself of the growing Gopher population. The choice of weapon was not your regular 7/11 eradicator, but the professional grade product from Rodenator Pro, whose company tagline is ‘The Boss Of The Burrow’! Boy I wish I had thought that one up!

This particular Rodenator product apparently involved a device that pumps propane and oxygen into the burrow and is equipped with a self igniting mechanism. According to news reports the instructions tell you stick it in the burrow, and KA-BOOM! It collapses the burrow and emits some noxious gas that does the breeding Gophers in!

This sounds more like a Bugs Bunny – Wiley Coyote episode than real life. Earlier today I overheard a conversation about this story. The comment that had me rolling on the floor “Yea, that business out in Springbank was bad, you know, when I get rich and buy a place, I am going to get stupidity insurance. $200,000 is a big bill!”

Simon Barrett


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