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Update 4: Southern Alberta wildfire situation

Firefighting efforts continue in Coleman as residents return home.

This situation update is current as of 11 a.m. No further situation updates are anticipated.

Current situation

  • The wildfire near Coleman is now being held.
  • The evacuation order in Crowsnest Pass has now been lifted.
  • A State of Local Emergency remains in effect for Crowsnest Pass.
  • Agriculture and Forestry has deployed 43 firefighters and support, five helicopters and heavy equipment to fight the 99-hectare blaze. Today, firefighters will be working to surround the fire with a fire guard and fully contain it.

Government of Alberta support

  • In addition to firefighting resources for the Crowsnest Pass fire, the Government of Alberta provided background support to local authorities during this response. This included:
    • One System on Wheels with 100 radios and three staff deployed to the Crowsnest Pass area.
    • Six Environment and Parks conservation officers supporting RCMP.
    • 72 cots were delivered to Pincher Creek through the Provincial Emergency Social Services system.
    • Six fish and wildlife officers from Justice and Solicitor General.
    • Four field officers from Alberta Emergency Management Agency to support local authorities.

Backgrounder

Previous Updates

Update 3 - Oct 18.at 7 p.m.

One State of Local Emergency remains in effect, for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. Emergency declarations for Wheatland County and Medicine Hat have ended.

An evacuation order remains in place for parts of Crowsnest Pass where significant winds continue to have a concerning effect on the wildfire. The reception centre in Pincher Creek remains open.

Fire effects

  • An Alberta firefighter, James Hargrave, lost his life in performance of his duty. The Government of Alberta extends its deepest sympathies to his family, loved ones and colleagues. 
  • A total of 14 homes have been reported lost across the province, including:
    • 2 in the Hamlet of Stobart
    • 4 in the Hamlet of Gleichen
    • 1 in Rockyview County
    • 5 in Acadia Valley
    • 2 on Siksika First Nation
  • One barn and one garage were destroyed in Crowsnest Pass.
  • The Allison Creek Fish Hatchery in Crowsnest Pass has sustained no damage. The Raven Fish Hatchery near Caroline sustained wind damage to the roof.
  • These numbers may change as damage assessments are completed.

Wildfire activity

  • There is currently one wildfire of concern in the Forest Protection Area, west of Coleman in Crowsnest Pass. That fire covers a total of 106 hectares.
  • Wind warnings remain in effect for the southwest corner of the province.
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has 25 wildland firefighters supporting local fire departments. Four helicopters and heavy equipment are also deployed.

Travel

  • Highway 3 from Coleman to the British Columbia border is now open; however, caution is urged while driving in that area.
  • Check 511 Alberta for up-to-date travel information.

Update 2 - Oct. 17 at 11:45 a.m.

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.

Travel

  • Highway 3 from Coleman to the British Columbia border remains closed.
  • Check 511 Alberta for up-to-date travel information.

Update 1 - Oct. 17 at 11 p.m.

  • Crowsnest Pass: An out of control wildfire is burning near Coleman. One section of Coleman has been evacuated; the remainder of the town is on standby to evacuate.
  • Cypress County: a fire has forced the evacuation of the northeast section of the county and the hamlets of Schuler and Hilda. Approximately 200 residents have been advised to evacuate to Medicine Hat.
  • Wheatland County: A State of Local Emergency has been declared. Residents of Gleichen have been evacuated. Reception centres have been established in Strathmore and Standard. Structure damage has been reported.
  • M.D of Willow Creek: several residents of the hamlet of Moon River Estates have been ordered to evacuate. An evacuation centre is set up at the Fort Macleod hall. A number of residents are sheltering in place and are not under threat from the fire. No structures have been lost.

Evacuation orders have ended for:

  • Siksika First Nation: residents can return home. Structural damage has been confirmed.
  • Municipal District of Acadia: residents of Acadia Valley can return home.

Wildfire activity

  • High winds continue and intense fire behaviour is anticipated.
  • Alberta Forestry has 15 wildland firefighters supporting local fire firefighters on suppression overnight.

Travel

  • The following highways are closed to the public due to the current wildfire situation:
    • Highway 41 from Hilda to Highway 570.
    • Highway 3 from Coleman to the British Columbia border.
  • Wildfires and high winds are affecting visibility on Highway 1 and surrounding highways near Gleichen.
  • Check 511 Alberta for up-to-date travel information.

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