Gateway Gazette

Update 4: Southwestern Alberta Fire Situation (Sept 12, 3 pm)

The Blood Tribe, Cardston County and Municipal District of Pincher Creek have declared local states of emergency in response to southern Alberta wildfire conditions.

Current situation

This Situation Update is current as of 1:30 p.m. For up-to-date information, visit www.emergency.alberta.ca.

Current situation

  • Overnight the fire grew by 50 per cent to roughly 20,000 hectares. A mandatory evacuation was issued on Sept. 11 at 10:15 p.m. for a section of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek from South Highway 505 to Waterton Lakes National Park and Castle Mountain Resort. An estimated 150 residences have been affected. A reception centre has been set up at the Vertical Church at 1200 Ken Thornton Blvd. in Pincher Creek. Residents evacuating should go to the reception centre or call 403-904-8016 to register.
  • A mandatory evacuation was issued on Sept. 11 at 11:44 p.m. for the area of Cardston County between Waterton Lakes National Park and Hwy 800 from the U.S. border north to Twp Rd 40. More than 50 homes have been affected. Residents who are leaving and need accommodation should call 403-653-4977.
  • A mandatory evacuation was issued on Sept. 12 for areas of the Blood Tribe in Zone 1, including Fish Creek, St. Paul’s area extending north to Russell and Many Fingers residences. An evacuation advisory has been issued for Zone 3, including north of Russell and Many Fingers residences extending to Lavern and little Chicago area. An estimated 180 people have been affected. A reception centre has been set up in the Standoff multipurpose building, and residents are asked to register at the multipurpose building even if they do not intend to stay there.
  • Approximately 500 people are under a mandatory evacuation order from their homes in Waterton townsite, parts of Cardston Country, parts of the MD of Pincher Creek and parts of the Blood Reserve.
  • In the town of Waterton, roughly 60 structural firefighters from neighbouring municipalities, including the City of Calgary, are working to protect the structures within the perimeter of the town. Unfortunately structures outside the perimeter have been lost, including the Visitor Centre and several out buildings.
  • Crews are working hard to protect houses and other structures there and our latest information is that they have been successful.
  • Firefighters working within Waterton will be relieved today by a second team coming in and will continue their work with 17 fire trucks on site.
  • Within the park itself, there are roughly 135 firefighters, nine Alberta airtankers and 14 helicopters.
  • Alberta Forestry has an additional 125 firefighters and 23 helicopters on standby, waiting for direction from the incident command team.

Wildfire activity

  • The Kenow wildfire has spread outside Waterton Lakes National Park into Cardston County and the Municipal District of Pincher Creek.
  • High winds, high temperatures and low humidity are forecast for Tuesday, Sept. 12, and intense fire behaviour continues to be anticipated.

Waterton townsite

  • Structural protection units and resources are in place in the Waterton townsite and have worked through the night providing protection.
  • The Office of the Fire Commissioner is coordinating additional resources to be brought in today to replenish and supplement firefighting efforts from Coalhurst, Didsbury, Milk River, Olds, Ponoka and fire protection companies.

Park closures

  • Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area, 25 km west of Cardston, has been closed (new).
  • A complete list of park closures is available at www.emergency.alberta.ca.

Travel

  • The following highways are closed to the public due to the current wildfire situation:
    • Highway 5 east of Waterton Lakes National Park to west of Cardston
    • Highway 6 north of Waterton Lakes National Park to Twin Butte
  • The following highways within Waterton Lakes National Park are closed to the public due to the current wildfire situation:
    • Highway 5
    • Highway 6
    • Chief Mountain border crossing
  • The following highways are closed to the public, with the exception of permit holders, due to the current wildfire situation:
    • Highway 532, west of Highway 22
    • Highway 520, east of Highway 22 for approximately 12 km
    • Highway 774, from Highway 507 to Castle Provincial Park
  • Check 511 Alberta for up-to-date travel information.

 

Backgrounder: Previous updates

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