Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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.
  • 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).

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