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Friday, September 8, 2017

Southwestern Alberta fire situation


Government of Alberta - Dangerous fire conditions in Waterton Lakes National Park have necessitated the evacuation of the Town of Waterton. Federal, provincial and local officials are working together to provide up-to-date information to visitors and residents.


Current situation
  • The Kenow Wildfire has crossed over into Alberta through Waterton Lakes National Park. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Parks Canada are working together to fight this wildfire.
  • The smoke has become very intense in the Waterton Lakes park area, leaving very low visibility. The winds have also picked up significantly. Parks Canada has made the decision to evacuate the Town of Waterton before darkness falls today.
  • A reception centre has been set up in Pincher Creek for evacuees.
  • Cots and blankets have been provided by the National Emergency Stockpile system.
  • The Alberta government is working with the federal government to keep visitors and residents in the affected area informed.
  • The government is also working with jurisdictions in the area to keep residents and local decision makers informed on the current fire situation.
Fire hazard
  • The fire hazard across much of southern Alberta is extreme. A fire weather advisory for southern Alberta has been issued. If a wildfire does occur, conditions may cause rapid spread, making it difficult for firefighters to contain the wildfire quickly.
  • Agriculture and Forestry has 764 firefighters, 104 helicopters, 75 pieces of heavy equipment, and 16 airtankers available to respond to wildfires across the province.
  • If you see a wildfire in the forest, report it at 310-FIRE (3473).
  • A fire restriction has been put in place for parts of the forested area west of Rocky Mountain House to the mountains. Open fires on public land, as well as backcountry and non-designated camping sites, are prohibited.
  • All fire permits are suspended and no new fire permits will be issued. The use of fireworks and exploding targets are also prohibited.
  • Albertans are encouraged to follow Alberta Emergency Alert online, @AB_EmergAlert or download the smartphone app to stay informed on emergencies in their area.
  • For updates and more information, please download the Alberta Wildfire mobile app for Apple or Android and visit our websites at Wildfire.Alberta.ca or AlbertaParks.ca
  • A number of areas throughout the province have fire advisories, restrictions, bans, off-highway vehicle restrictions or forest closures in place. Please visit AlbertaFireBans.ca for more information.
  • Where fire bans are not in place, fires must be monitored at all times, and should be fully extinguished by soaking the flames, stirring the ashes and soaking again, until the ashes are cool to the touch.
Air quality
  • Environment and Parks has sent mobile air quality units to the communities of Cardston and Pincher Creek, where permanent monitoring stations do not exist.
  • Air quality advisories remain in place www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/air.aspx
  • Information about the air quality in many areas of Alberta is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality airquality.alberta.ca.
  • For hourly air-quality readings and daily forecasts, download the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) Canada app at open.alberta.ca/interact/aqhi-canada
  • Be aware of air conditions and take precautions against potential health concerns associated with smoky air. Precautions are outlined at www.ahs.ca/air.
Provincial response
  • The Office of the Fire Commissioner has arranged for additional resources to the Town of Waterton to assist with structural protection, working with Parks Canada and Agriculture and Forestry, including 41 firefighters and three engines, two ladder trucks and three wildland trucks and one water tender from Calgary, Coaldale, Lethbridge, MD of Willow Creek and Taber.
  • The Alberta Emergency Management Agency has a mobile emergency vehicle and five staff on site serving as an operations centre as they monitor the situation.
  • In response to a request from Parks Canada, the Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System (AFRRCS) has deployed a team, two mobile communications sites, and radio units to assist with communications needs for first responders.
  • Fish and Wildlife officers are conducting patrols in various areas of the forest closure.
Travel
  • Parks and roads in the area remain closed.
  • For up-to-date travel information across Alberta, please check 511 Alberta and “know before you go.”

Related information
Emergency.Alberta.ca
Alberta Emergency Alert app
Alberta Wildfire app
Emergency preparedness

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