Canada Cardston County declares emergency, evacuees flee homes as Waterton Lakes fire burns out of control

13:40  12 september  2017
13:40  12 september  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

Waterton Lakes backcountry closed due to nearby wildfire

  Waterton Lakes backcountry closed due to nearby wildfire A nearby wildfire and an extreme fire hazard have forced Parks Canada to shut down all backcountry use in Waterton Lakes National Park until further notice. The townsite remains open, but all off-trial hiking, scrambling and climbing in the park is prohibited. Crandell campground and all backcountry campgrounds are closed, as is the Red Rock Parkway.Visitors can still access the Cameron Lake day-use area, but any use of the lake is prohibited.

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Cardston County declares emergency, evacuees flee homes as Waterton Lakes fire burns out of control: Jared Pierson was at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 just before 10 p.m. MT<br /> © Submitted by Jared Pierson Jared Pierson was at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 just before 10 p.m. MT

Residents of rural southern Alberta are fleeing their homes Tuesday as the Kenow wildfire expanded faster than officials previously expected. 

In Pincher Creek, the evacuation notice came without warning just after 10 p.m. MT Monday. Throughout the night the area under order continued to expand. The evacuation boundary currently includes all residents south of Highway 505. 

Cardston County declared a state of emergency shortly after 1 a.m. MT overnight, saying in an alert to residents, "Fire has left Waterton Park and has entered the County." 

Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approaches

  Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approaches Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approachesResidents and visitors must leave the area immediately, officials said as the evacuation order was issued Friday afternoon.

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People in the county are being evacuated in all areas between Waterton Lakes National Park and Range Road 281 (Highway 800), and from the U.S border north to Township Road 40. 

RCMP officers are going door to door with Parks Canada staff to alert residents that they need to leave their homes. 

Close to 4 a.m., residents of Canada's largest reserve, the Blood Reserve, also began evacuating. The reserve is divided into zones, and zone one – the southernmost zone – is currently under evacuation order, while zone three – just north of zone one – has been put on notice.  

No word on how the fire spread

A Parks Canada spokesperson told CBC News that an update on the fire would not be available until later Tuesday morning, but added, "Parks Canada is actively managing fire at various locations in the national park."

Alberta town empty except for firefighters

  Alberta town empty except for firefighters WATERTON, Alta. - A town in an Alberta national park that would normally still be teeming with late summer visitors is now empty except for emergency workers who are preparing to save its buildings from a wildfire. "The only people left in town are for firefighting purposes," RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters said Saturday from the Waterton townsite, a day after Parks Canada ordered the evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park.&nbsp;"The only people left in town are for firefighting purposes," RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters said Saturday from the Waterton townsite, a day after Parks Canada ordered the evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park.

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According to the last update, Parks Canada's initial release had focused on advances that the fire was making in the southwest corner of the national park. However the fire's northern flank was also being "aggressively" attacked by firefighters, said Parks Canada area commander, Rick Kubian. 

There is also a known off-shoot fire of about 50 hectares in the central region of the park. 

Smoke and falling ash had been moving through the park and north towards Pincher Creek throughout the evening Monday, and it caused the closure of sections of Highway 5 and Highway 6. 

Albertans watch Waterton burn

Jared Pierson lives just down the road from the park and decided to drive there to check on things, only to find the park engulfed by fire.  

"We got a lot more than we bargained for," he told CBC News. 

He sat at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 just before 10 p.m. Monday and filmed this video that he posted to social media. In it he describes feeling the heat of the fire and hearing it crackle. 

Evacuation centres

All evacuees from Pincher Creek are advised to check in at the command centre set up at Vertical Church at 1200 Ken Thornton Blvd. or they can check in remotely by calling 403-904-8016.

In Cardston, evacuees are being directed to the Civic Center at 67 3rd Avenue W. in the Town of Cardston, or to call them at 403-653-3366. 

'It's gone, everything's ash': Alipine Stables destroyed by Waterton fire .
'It's gone, everything's ash': Alipine Stables destroyed by Waterton fireIt’s the only place that Jenika Watson has ever thought of as home, and now officials have confirmed that Alpine Stables were destroyed this week when the Kenow Fire tore through parts of Waterton Lakes National Park.

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