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Friday, October 20, 2017

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Showing October 20 - 26:

Mountain Between Us
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7:00 and 9:00 nightly

Flatliners
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fire Ban for MD of Pincher Creek



MD of Pincher Creek No. 9
EFFECTIVE DATE

October 19, 2017

Due to the continuing warm, dry, windy weather fire permits for debris will be restricted. Permits may be issued for a short duration during favourable conditions.

Firefighting efforts continue in Coleman as residents return home

Government of Alberta - This situation update is current as of 11 a.m. No further situation updates are anticipated.

Current situation
  • The wildfire near Coleman is now being held.
  • The evacuation order in Crowsnest Pass has now been lifted.
  • A State of Local Emergency remains in effect for Crowsnest Pass.
  • Agriculture and Forestry has deployed 43 firefighters and support, five helicopters and heavy equipment to fight the 99-hectare blaze. Today, firefighters will be working to surround the fire with a fire guard and fully contain it.
Government of Alberta support
  • In addition to firefighting resources for the Crowsnest Pass fire, the Government of Alberta provided background support to local authorities during this response. This included:
  • One System on Wheels with 100 radios and three staff deployed to the Crowsnest Pass area.
  • Six Environment and Parks conservation officers supporting RCMP.
  • 72 cots were delivered to Pincher Creek through the Provincial Emergency Social Services system.
  • Six fish and wildlife officers from Justice and Solicitor General.
  • Four field officers from Alberta Emergency Management Agency to support local authorities.

Airdrie fire started by careless disposal of smoking material


City of Airdrie - The Airdrie Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Investigator has determined the cause of the large grass fire in Sharp Hills to be from improper disposal of smoking material.  The origin of the blaze was a grassy area located near the intersection of Township Road 294 and Range Road 264. The initial small fire accelerated quickly and violently due to extreme wind conditions present in the area Tuesday afternoon.

The Airdrie Fire Department urges the public to dispose of smoking materials safely and properly. They should never be thrown from windows of automobiles or placed into containers of plant material.

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass re-emtry notice

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass - Due to changing conditions that have reduced the potential risks to evacuees, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is rescinding the evacuation order for McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, McGillivray Road/63 Street as well as the evacuation alert for the rest of Coleman as of 9:30 am on October 19, 2017. Willow Drive evacuation order was rescinded at 3:45 PM on October 18, 2017.

All evacuees must visit the Municipal Office at 8502 19 Avenue in Coleman to obtain a Re-Entry Information Package and Permit prior to entry being granted.

If you have any questions, please call the Municipal Office at (403) 562-8833.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Southern Alberta wildfires update, evening of Oct. 18


Government of Alberta - Firefighting efforts continue in southern Alberta with a focus on safety.  This situation update is current as of 7 p.m. Visit Alberta Emergency Alerts for updates.
Current situation

One State of Local Emergency remains in effect, for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. Emergency declarations for Wheatland County and Medicine Hat have ended.

An evacuation order remains in place for parts of Crowsnest Pass where significant winds continue to have a concerning effect on the wildfire. The reception centre in Pincher Creek remains open.

Fire effects
  • An Alberta firefighter, James Hargrave, lost his life in performance of his duty. The Government of Alberta extends its deepest sympathies to his family, loved ones and colleagues. 
  • A total of 14 homes have been reported lost across the province, including:
  • 2 in the Hamlet of Stobart.
  • 4 in the Hamlet of Gleichen.
  • 1 in Rockyview County.
  • 5 in Acadia Valley.
  • 2 on Siksika First Nation.
  • One barn and one garage were destroyed in Crowsnest Pass.
  • The Allison Creek Fish Hatchery in Crowsnest Pass has sustained no damage. The Raven Fish Hatchery near Caroline sustained wind damage to the roof.
These numbers may change as damage assessments are completed.

Wildfire activity
  • There is currently one wildfire of concern in the Forest Protection Area, west of Coleman in Crowsnest Pass. That fire covers a total of 106 hectares.
  • Wind warnings remain in effect for the southwest corner of the province.
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has 25 wildland firefighters supporting local fire departments. Four helicopters and heavy equipment are also deployed.
  • Travel
  • Highway 3 from Coleman to the British Columbia border is now open; however, caution is urged while driving in that area.
Check 511 Alberta for up-to-date travel information.

Croswnest Pass wildfire updates, afternoon of Oct. 18




Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, issued Wed. Oct. 18 at 4:46 pm - The wildfire still burns out of control west of Coleman, but the situation has slightly improved and everyone living on Willow Drive can return to their residences, as the evacuation order for this area is now lifted. The evacuation orders for McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, and MacGillivary Flats remain in place and no one should be in these areas.

McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, and MacGillivary Flats remain under an evacuation order and a Reception Centre has been setup at the Vertical Church in Pincher Creek, which is located at 1200 Ken Thorton Blvd.. All evacuated residents are asked to register at the church and they can register by calling the church at 403-904-0021.

All Residents from Willow Drive must report to the Municipal Office at 8502 - 19 Avenue, Coleman prior to returning to their homes.

Highway 3 is now open but caution must be used while driving in the area.

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass evacuation update October 18, 2017 at 5:45 pm:


The Municipality has declared a State of Local Emergency on 5:43 pm on October 17, 2017 due to a wildfire located in between the Sentinel Industrial Park and Coleman. At this time residents are advised:
  • Willow Drive has been cleared for re-entry at 3:45 pm as the fire is considered held in this area, residents must stop at the Municipal Office at 8502 19 Avenue for an Information Package which will be necessary to regain entry. The office will be open until 8:30 pm.
  • Due to the wildfire conditions and public safety concerns the other evacuations at McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, McGillivray Road/63 Street will not be cleared for re-entry tonight, however, we will be allowing 15 minute escorted entry for medication, pet retrieval and livestock feeding. 
Residents seeking re-entry into evacuated areas must go to the Municipal office between 5:30 and 8:30 pm to obtain a permit. The permit must be presented at the Road Blocks located at:
  • West end of Carbondale Trailer
  • West access to McGillvray on Hwy 3
  • Hwy 3 access for McLaren Estates (South side of Highway 3)
  • Select properties north of Highway 3 (Dudys’ / Bohomlics)
Additional entry will be permitted tomorrow if fire conditions allow.

The Municipality will continue to keep residents updated as the situation develops.

Lethbridge and Edmonton approved to offer supervised drug consumption services


Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne speaks about the first five Alberta locations which will offer supervised consumption services to people in Edmonton and Lethbridge. (supplied photo)

According to a Government of Alberta press release issued today, Edmonton and Lethbridge are the first cities in Alberta approved to offer supervised consumption services to people at risk of overdosing. So far this year, 315 Albertans have died of apparent fentanyl-related overdoses. The Edmonton community-based sites approved for supervised consumption services are expected to open in late 2017 or early 2018, with ARCHES’ Lethbridge location expected to open in early 2018. The anticipated opening date for supervised consumption services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital is spring 2018.
“This is an incredibly important announcement for Lethbridge that is going to save lives. I want to thank Health Canada and the province of Alberta for recognizing the urgency of the crisis here in Lethbridge and providing a swift approval of the application to establish supervised consumption services in our city. The vetting process for the application is rigorous, and so I also want to commend Stacey Bourque and the staff at ARCHES for working so hard to prepare an exceptionally thorough application.” - Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman

Letter: Strengthening Volunteer Boards workshop worthwhile


Joyce Sasse (Annora Brown Society) - The workshop about “Strengthening Volunteer Boards”, sponsored by the Pincher Creek Rec Office, was most helpful. Leaders were responsive to the many questions raised. At the same time they outlined the responsibilities than help a volunteer organizations operate effectively.

Should an organization need help with such matters as member recruitment, financial planning, developing by-laws, etc., contact Rhonda Oczkowski at the Rec. office. She has access (through Alberta Culture and Tourism) to a wealth of resources at no cost. Knowledgeable workshop leaders can be invited to work hands-on with any community organization.

Thanks for a most worthwhile event.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                        

Zebra chip pathogen found in western Canadian potatoes for the first time

Potato Psyllid
University of Lethbridge - For the first time, evidence of the zebra chip pathogen has been found in potato fields in southern Alberta, but the University of Lethbridge’s Dr. Dan Johnson cautions against panic.  “So far, the zebra chip pathogen has appeared in only small numbers of potato psyllids,” says Johnson, a biogeography professor and coordinator of the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network. “The number of potato psyllids in all Alberta sites is very low and many sample cards have found no evidence of the potato psyllid insect. Zebra chip does not normally become a problem unless the potato psyllids are found in much higher numbers than are currently being found in Canada.”

Holiday Train schedules 2017 Pincher Station stop

CP Holiday Train at Pincher Station, Dec. 2015
The popular Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has scheduled a stop at Pincher Station at 11:05 am Monday, December 11, 2017.  Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Band will be the featured entertainment.

The Holiday Train will also stop at Fort Macleod before Pincher Station at 9:20 am, and at Coleman after Pincher Station at 1:05 pm.

The Holiday Train is used as an incentive to donate to local food banks in the United States and Canada. When it last stopped at Pincher Station in 2015 it helped raise $12,000 for the local food bank.
"The Holiday Train program is all about local food banks and food shelves and the critical role they play in our communities," according to Keith Creel, CP's President and Chief Executive Officer. "People come for the beautifully-lit train and stay for the incredible show - all in the name of community. The holiday season is the best time of the year, and we look forward to bringing together thousands of Canadians and Americans this season for this incredibly important cause and a great time."

Cypress County Firefighter killed while combatting wildfire


Redcliff RCMP -  A Cypress County Firefighter was killed during the efforts to combat a wildfire north of Medicine Hat last night.

On October 17, a grassfire ignited in Cypress County near township road 180 approximately 5 miles west of Highway 41. The fire grew rapidly in size and moved quickly eastward due to high winds and dry fuels. Cypress County Fire Fighters and RCMP evacuated the communities of Hilda and Schuler due to the risk posed by the fire.

The fire moved east into Saskatchewan and Cypress County fire fighters assisted Saskatchewan fire fighters to fight the fire near the communities of Leader and Burstall. During the fire-fighting efforts, a collision occurred between water truck and pick-up truck. The lone occupant of the water truck, a 34-year-old male and volunteer fire fighter from Cypress County died at the scene.

This tragic loss of life speaks to the danger that this emergency posed and also to the heroism of the volunteers who sacrifice in service of their neighbors. The RCMP extends its deepest and most sincere condolences to the family of the deceased as well as his friends and colleagues in the Cypress County fire department.

Update as reported by CTV:  The deceased man has been identified as James Hargrave, a 34-year-old volunteer firefighter stationed out of Walsh, Alberta.

Highway 3 reopened from Coleman to BC border

@511Alberta - Highway 3 from Coleman to the BC border has been reopened.

Southern Alberta RCMP wildfires summary


RCMP Alberta - In the late afternoon and evening hours on October 17, several communities across southern Alberta were impacted by severe, fast moving wildfires which were driven by extremely high winds. RCMP officers conducted evacuations of 10 communities in 6 counties/municipal districts. Rural residences and farms in these counties were also evacuated in many areas. These evacuations were carried out by officers in eight different RCMP detachments working in partnership with local firefighters, peace officers and citizens.

At this time, a full assessment of the damages resulting from these fires has not yet been completed. “The events of yesterday are unprecedented. We have never had emergencies and evacuations affecting so many communities at once.” says RCMP Chief Superintendent Tony Hamori, Officer in Charge of Southern Alberta District. “ I am proud of the efforts of our RCMP officers and employees and I thank all of our community partners for their significant role in managing these fires.”

A summary of each RCMP detachment’s current emergency status is provided below.

Southern Alberta wildfire situation update, morning Oct. 18




Municipality of Crowsnest Pass update

The Municipality has declared a State of Local Emergency on 5:43 pm on October 17, 2017 due to a wildfire located in between the Sentinel Industrial Park and Coleman. At this time residents are advised:
  • Highway 3 westbound remains closed between Flummerfelt Park and the lakes in Coleman. We are working with our Emergency Partners to assess the wildfire threat adjacent to the highway. We do not have an estimated time that it will be open at this time. 
  • The fire is still active 
  • No homes have been impacted by the wildfire at this time
  • Evacuations remain the same as yesterday at 6:30 pm and are Willow Drive, McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, MacGillivary Flats. There is no estimated time of re-entry at this time. 
  • The remainder of Coleman remains on evacuation notice until the fire is determined to be held. 
  • Power has been restored to the majority of the community including Coleman and Blairmore, there are still some isolated customers as well as the evacuated areas that remain off. 
  • All Municipal facilities remain closed for regular operations. 
  • A Reception Centre is open at the Vertical Church in Pincher Creek which is located at 1200 Ken Thorton Blvd. Evacuated residents are asked to please register with the Church by phoning 403-904-0021. 
The Municipality will continue to keep residents updated as the situation develops.

Government of Alberta update

Firefighting efforts continue in southern Alberta with a focus on safety. This situation update is current as of 10 a.m. Visit Alberta Emergency Alerts for updates.

Four States of Local Emergency are in effect:
  • Medicine Hat
  • Wheatland County
  • Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
  • Municipal District of Acadia

Evacuation orders remain in place for Crowsnest Pass. An out-of-control wildfire is burning near Coleman. Two barns and two outbuildings were confirmed lost to fire. The local fish hatchery also sustained damage.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for
  • Wheatland County: Residents are now allowed to return home. Four homes were lost in the hamlet of Gleichen, two homes were lost in the hamlet of Stobart.
  • Cypress County: The fire has been extinguished. Local authorities are coordinating return of evacuees.
  • M.D. of Willow Creek: The fire has been extinguished. The Municipal District of Willow Creek Fires Services is coordinating the re-entry of evacuees.
  • Rockyview County: One home was reported lost in Airdrie. Residents have been allowed back.
  • Acadia: Two homes were reported lost in Acadia Valley.
  • Siksika First Nation: Two homes were reported lost.
Evacuation and reception centres
  • The reception centre in Pincher Creek remains open for evacuees from Crowsnest Pass and Coleman.
  • Reception centres been closed in Airdrie, Oyen, Siksika First Nation, Standard and Strathmore.
Wildfire activity
  • Wind warnings remain in effect for the southwest corner of the province. This will hamper local fire responses.
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has 25 wildland firefighters supporting local fire departments and four helicopters are deployed. Fire guards were constructed throughout the night to provide protection for the community of Coleman.
  • There is currently one wildfire of concern in the Fire Protection Area west of Coleman in Crowsnest Pass.
Travel
  • Highway 3 from Coleman to the British Columbia border remains closed.
  • Check 511 Alberta for up-to-date travel information.
Kenow Fire Information Update

The portion of the fire in the national park is classified as ‘under control’ and is not expected to grow or spread further. Parks Canada continues to monitor and patrol the fire, and will identify and extinguish hot spots as needed.

Small pockets of fuel within the Kenow Fire area in Waterton Lakes National Park have continued burning due to continued dry and extremely windy conditions. Smoke may still be visible for several weeks and hot spots could continue to smoulder into the winter. These isolated hot spots are contained within the larger burned area and are not considered a hazard to grow and escape. Some smoke was visible in the Cameron Valley along the Akamina Parkway. The recent high winds have blown significant amounts of ash and fine particulate into the air, which may look like smoke. While this blowing ash and dust may look like smoke it does not pose a fire hazard. It is not necessary to report blowing ash.

The high intensity of the fire resulted in a large number of danger trees, rock falls, deep and hot ash pits and other hazards that continue to pose a safety risk throughout the park. Please respect the area closures. For any fire-related concerns call Parks Canada Dispatch at: 1-888-WARDENS (1-888-927-3367).

Town of Pincher Creek recount: Anderberg still Mayor


Chris Davis - A recount of the ballots for Mayor in the Town of Pincher Creek election was conducted this morning.  The results: Don Anderberg 702 (compared to 701 in the original count) and Dianne Gray 329 (compared to 330 in the original count).  All numbers are 'unofficial' at this time.  Gray asked for the recount (click here for that story).

Town CAO Laurie Wilgosh and Returning Officer Lou Burnham signed the below letter that responds to questions asked by Gray in her request for the recount.

Congratulations to all those recently elected from MLA Pat Stier


Pincher Creek weather from Environment Canada




Links lead to the Environment Canada website

Avail CPA Pincher Creek office hours are changing

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Our Pincher Creek office hours are changing, effective October 23:
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8am-12pm, 1-4:30pm.
Find us at 765 Main Street, or call us at 403.627.5510.
Join us at our upcoming Business Budgeting Lunch and Learn!

Emergency wildfire situation in Crowsnest Pass



Alberta Emergency Management Agency update, issued Tues. Oct. 17, 2017, 11:53 pm:

The Wildfire between the Sentinel Industrial Park and Coleman continues to be out of control, and Highway 3 west of Coleman remains closed to all traffic. Willow Drive, McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, and MacGillivary Flats are evacuated, and no one should be in these areas. Everyone else in Coleman should be prepared to evacuate on short notice.

A Reception Centre has been setup at the Vertical Church in Pincher Creek, which is located at 1200 Ken Thorton Blvd., and all evacuated residents are asked to register at the church and they can register by calling 403-627-9457.

Willow Drive, McLaren Ridge, Carbondale Trailer Court, and MacGillivary Flats remain under an evacuation order, and everyone else in Coleman should be prepared to evacuate on short notice. Highway 3 west of Coleman remains closed and there is heavy smoke in the area. All evacuees should go to or call the Vertical Church in Pincher Creek to register. Phone # 403-627-9457.

Information Shared by Real Country Radio at 9:30 pm:

Emergency command is set up at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.

The town asks that residents try to conserve water until power is restored. We don’t want to tax our water reserves too much.

We have no definite timeline for when restoration will be complete. It could be back by midnight, or not until tomorrow morning.

The outages here in the Pass are the absolute #1 priority for Fortis. Of all the locations experiencing outages through the province right now, we have the most crews responding to try to get us back up and running.

The work is slow due to wind, and related challenges caused by wind. Crews have to check every pole for downed lines, lines affected by fallen trees.

Schools:

All schools in the Pass will be closed today.

If the situation changes:

If you still have a charge on your phone, download the Alberta Emergency Alert App through your app store. If new evacuations are ordered, or the situation changes in any significant way, you will receive a very loud, annoying alert that will wake you in the middle of the night.

If the worst were to happen and you needed to evacuate in the middle of the night, there WILL be people going door to door.
Alberta Wildfire Info update at 8:15 pm: The wildfire near Coleman is over 50 hectares in size and is listed as out of control. It is located less than 3 kilometres west of Coleman. Crews are expected to work through the night.

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass at 9:30 pm, October 17:

At this time, Highway 3 westbound remains closed at Flummerfelt Park in Coleman.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Evacuation order issued for Gleichan


RCMP Alberta - Ongoing wildfires fuelled by high winds has resulted in an evacuation order being issued for the town of Gleichen. All residents of Gleichen are being asked to attend to a reception centre at either:
  • Strathmore Civic Centre, 120 Brent Blvd
  • Standard Community call, 150 Yorick Ave, Standard.
  • Reception Center for pets is at Lord of All Lutheran Church in Strathmore.

RCMP officers are going door to notify residents as quickly as possible.
Visibility is affected due to heavy smoke. Follow the directions of local authorities.
More details on www.wheatlandcounty.ca

Evacuation Alert issued for Hamlet of Moon River Estates


8:25 pm update

Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26, issued Tues. Oct. 17, 2917, 8:25 pm: A wildfire is being fought at the Hamlet of Moon River Estates in the south east corner of the M.D. of Willow Creek. Those who have not yet evacuated, please gather at the Horse Paddock by the river in the Hamlet and follow all instructions from Emergency Services and Law Enforcement. A reception center is open in Fort Macleod Hall on Highway 3. (307-25th Street).

To Moon River Estates Residents - those who have not yet evacuated, please go to the Horse Paddock at the bottom of the hill and follow all instructions from Emergency Services and Law Enforcement.

Evacuation of hamlet of Acadia Valley




Update: evacuation orders for Acadia Valley and Empress lifted as of 9:30 pm.

Oyen, Alberta - Evacuation orders have been lifted for the hamlets of Acadia Valley and Empress. Residents of both communities are permitted to return home. Hwy 41 remains closed south of Acadia Valley and a local state of emergency remains in effect.



Grass fires in Strathmore area


RCMP Alberta - Strathmore RCMP are advising that two grass fires have ignited in the Strathmore area.  The first is located near Highway 910 and Range Road 264. Preliminary reports indicate a train caught fire near the Agrium Plant which in turn created a grass fire due to the extreme winds. The train did not derail. No injuries have been reported.  The second is located in the area of Highway 817 and Highway 24 near Sisksika Nation. Some residents in the rural area near the fire have been evacuated.

Also, be advised that Highway 1 is closed from Highway 21 to Range Road 214 due to the fires.

All evacuees or anyone concerned for their safety are asked to attend the Strathmore Civic Centre.

Details are limited at this time as the wildfire situation is changing rapidly. Additional information will be released as it becomes known. The RCMP appreciates Media's patience and assistance with keeping the public update.

Voluntary evacuation in Scenic Heights area of Lethbridge

Steven William Brown photo

City of Lethbridge advises Lethbridge Police are contacting residents in the Scenic Heights area for voluntary evacuation due to fire in the coulees. Scenic Heights residents are advised mandatory evacuation may be necessary due to fire and to prepare to leave on short notice. Firefighters are responding to a grass fire in the coulees west of Mountainview Cemetery. Please avoid the area.

Lethbridge Police Service advises mandatory evacuation may be necessary for Scenic Heights residents due to fire and should prepare to leave on short notice

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