Gateway Gazette

Kenow Fire Update – Unified Command – 18.09.2017; 12:00

Note: Updates will be provided only when there is a significant change in fire activity or closures.

The Kenow Fire remains active and is classified as out of control. Fire activity is predominantly on the fire perimeter, and at localized hotspots within the perimeter where pockets of unburned fuels remain. Fire activity, including smoke and flame may be visible to the public in some areas, especially in the evening when darkness increases visibility of flames. Unified Command continues to action these areas, as required.

The fire did not demonstrate any further growth over night. Improved GPS and satellite imagery mapping that gives a more accurate representation of the area impacted by the fire was conducted yesterday, we now estimate that the Kenow wildfire covers an area of approximately 38,100 hectares.

We continue to work 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. The Evacuation Order remains in effect and the park is closed to all incoming traffic except emergency vehicles and authorized personnel. While the fire continues to burn, it no longer directly threatens the Waterton Townsite. However, risks due to the active fire nearby and ongoing fire operations remain. Parks Canada continues 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.

Parks Canada is planning a phased re-entry to the Waterton townsite for residents, leaseholders, and business owners on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Only those who have been contacted by Parks Canada and fall under these three groups will be allowed entry into the park. We thank you for your ongoing patience and we will let you know when access to the Waterton townsite will be permitted for the general public.

Firefighters setting up pumps for fire operations in Waterton Lakes National Park.

CASTLE BRANCH FIRE SUPRESSION…

The area of fire within the Castle drainage has seen minimal activity over the past few days. The fire is now estimated to be 221 hectares in size, which is due to more accurate mapping and measurement rather than a change in the fire’s size. Conditions continue to allow for the use of aircraft for both assessment and suppression as required. Crews continue to be deployed on the ground as well. The wildfire remains approximately 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.

WEATHER AND FIRE BEHAVIOUR…

·        Increased temperatures, drier conditions and increased wind are forecasted for early this week. Fire behaviour and activity has the potential to increase with these conditions.

WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED…

·        Waterton Lakes National Park is Closed: www.parkscanada.ca/waterton-kenow-fire  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: http://srd.web.alberta.ca/calgary-area-update

Stay up-to-date through Waterton Lakes National Park’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Additional information about wildfires in the national mountain parks is available at www.parkscanada.ca/fire

Stay up-to-date through Waterton Lakes National Park’s website, facebook page and twitter feed. Additional information about the Kenow Fire is available at www.parkscanada.ca/waterton-kenow-fire

To subscribe or unsubscribe to these updates, write to kenowfire.waterton@pc.gc.ca. For general inquiries, contact the Information Line at 403-859-5109 or write to kenowfire.waterton@pc.gc.ca.

Ranchlands Victim Services Society provides service to all victims of crime or tragedy in the service provision area. 24/7 support is available 365 days a year. Support information and referrals are provided to victims of crime and tragedy.  1369 Hunter Street. Box 1118, Pincher Creek T0K 1W0. 403-627-6040, ranchlandsvictimservices@gmail.com

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