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Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15 wildfire updates

Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 15, 2017, 6:00 pm -

Mandatory Evacuation remains in place for residents south of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park.

Castle Mountain Resort:
  • Residents are permitted to return to their homes.
  • Residents are reminded that fire behaviour is unpredictable and to remain vigilant.
  • As Provincial Crown Land remains closed to the public, access permits are still required.
  • Previously issued permits will be honoured.
Kenow Wildfire Update:
  • The fire currently burning in the Castle Area, has not increased in size, however, this fire is still classified as out of control.
  • It remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.

Restoration of electrical services to the Twin Butte Area:

  • Electricity was restored at 3:00 pm.
  • Please call 310-WIRE (310-9473) if you are experiencing difficulties with your service.

The MD of PIncher Creek would like to thank everyone for their generosity during the last few days. However, no further donations of any type (cash or food items) are required for the Operations Centre or for our fire crews.

Castle Mountain Resort evacuation rescinded

Castle Mountain Resort - The MD of Pincher Creek (which Castle Mountain Resort falls within) has announced that our mandatory evacuation order has been rescinded. Residents and staff who hold permits are able to return to their homes / work. Residents and staff are reminded that permits are still required as the forest area closure / Castle Parks closure remains in effect until further notice. Information on who is eligible for a permit and how to get one is listed in our 04/09/2017 update at this link.



Kenow Fire Update – Unified Command - September 15, 11:00 am:

The Kenow Fire still remains active and is classified as out of control. The fire did not demonstrate any further growth over night and the fire is estimated at approximately 36,000 hectares. We are working closely with provincial and local partners and emergency management organizations to contain this wildfire and protect key infrastructure and resources.

Our current priorities are:
  • Continuing protection of values and infrastructure
  • Working to establish containment of the fire in strategic locations
  • On-going assessment of impacted values and infrastructure
  • Restoration of key infrastructure to prepare for re-entry.

WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK

We wish to remind the public that the Kenow Fire is still active in the area and within the park boundaries. Please note that the Evacuation Order is still in effect and the park remains closed to all incoming traffic except emergency vehicles and authorized personnel. Even though the townsite is no longer under threat, risks due to the active fire nearby and ongoing fire operations remain. Community members should not attempt to return to the area until advised by Parks Canada.


CASTLE BRANCH FIRE SUPRESSION

The area of fire within the Castle drainage saw little growth yesterday and remains at 500 hectares. The limited fire behaviour continued due to the current weather conditions. Some light rain was received on the fire but unfortunately aircraft were unable to fly on the fire yesterday due to poor visibility. Today crews may begin work on the ground if it is determined that it is safe to do so. The wildfire remains about 23 kilometres from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 kilometres from Beaver Mines. For more information, visit wildfire.alberta.ca or call 1-866-FYI-FIRE at 1-866-394-3473.


INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE

Through incredible firefighting efforts, we are pleased to confirm that no homes or businesses within the townsite have been lost or damaged due to fire.

The main Prince of Wales Hotel building has not been impacted by fire, however some surrounding facilities are damaged. In addition, the Red Rock and Cameron Lake day-use areas and facilities, including the Alpine Club of Canada hut, have not been damaged due to fire. The Waterton Lakes Golf Course clubhouse sustained minor damage to the exterior.

Regrettably, despite our best efforts, some infrastructure in the park has been lost, including Alpine Stables. Our thoughts are with the community members dealing with the devastating impact of this loss. The Visitor Centre was also lost in the fire and the East Gate Warden Station sustained a total loss of the structure, equipment, and vehicles. Crandell Campground was significantly impacted by fire. Outlying infrastructure around the Parks Canada Operations Compound were impacted and the Bison Paddock suffered damage to the facilities and the fence.

Transmission lines from the park boundary to the townsite sustained significant damage. Parks Canada and Fortis are currently working together to restore power.

We continue to work to complete the detailed assessment, which includes identifying additional risks within the park. Due to the high intensity of the fire, there are a large number of danger trees, rock falls, and other hazards that remain throughout. Moreover, guardrails, signage, and other minor infrastructure were heavily impacted.

WEATHER AND FIRE BEHAVIOUR
  • Recent cooler temperature and precipitation have provided some relief.
  • Increased temperatures and drier conditions are expected this weekend. Fire behaviour may increase with these conditions.
WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED
  • Waterton Lakes National Park will be closed until we can assure it is safe to reopen. A safety assessment and any required work will be completed before the park is reopened.
  • Calgary Forest Protection Area south of Highway 532 is closed.


Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update, September 15, 2017, 10:00 am:

Mandatory Evacuations:

  • Remain in place for Castle Mountain Resort. Access to this area is not permitted. 30 residents of this area are currently affected by this evacuation.
  • Remain in place for residents south of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park. This area is still being assessed by Emergency Services.

Kenow Fire Update - The fire currently burning in the Castle Area, has not increased in size, however, this fire is still classified as out of control.

Highway 6 remains closed from the Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to the Highway 5 junction.

Residents, within the evacuation area, are still permitted access to their properties for a 2 hour period, during the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.  There are 28 residences are within this evacuation area.

Re-Entry:
  • Residents returning to their homes are asked to turn their main electrical breaker off in preparation for the return of services.
  • Re-Entry information packages are available for residents returning to their homes. These packages are available at the Administration Building, the reception center (located at 1200 Ken Thornton Blvd) and on the MD's website.
  • Residents are reminded that this area is considered on evacuation alert, and should be prepared to leave, on short notice, should the fire behaviour change.
  • Wildlife in the area has been impacted by this fire; residents should remain vigilant to their presence.
  • Residents are reminded to retain all information regarding the evacuation, including receipts, inventory lists of possessions and other important information. This will be beneficial when processing insurance claims.

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