The Kenow Mountain wildfire from British Columbia has crossed the continental divide into Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park and grown rapidly overnight, posing a threat not only to the Waterton townsite but also to several other southern Alberta communities.
The fire is now inside the park boundaries and is expected to grow.
In their latest update, issued on Monday evening, Parks Canada said the Kenow fire is demonstrating “intense fire behaviour” and continuing to advance southeast along the Akamina Valley.
Highways within Waterton Lakes National Park are now closed due to wildfire activity (Highways 5, 6 and Chief Mountain border crossing).
WATCH: Global Calgary meteorologist Jordan Witzel says don’t expect any help from Mother Nature as far as rainfall goes over the Waterton fire area – at least for the next 48 hours.
A mandatory evacuation remains in effect for all areas of Waterton Lakes National Park, including the Waterton townsite and all front-country and back-country trails. All residents and non-essential personnel have been safely evacuated and the townsite is secure. Admittance at the park gate is limited to essential personnel.
Information from Parks Canada for residents under evacuation:
- You must leave the area immediately;
- Follow the travel route provided on the map (see above);
- If you need transportation assistance to leave Waterton, please (a) advise the individual providing you with this in-person notice, (b) go to Waterton Park Community Centre or (c) call 403-859-5109 if you cannot do (a) or (b);
- Close all windows and doors;
- Shut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezers;
- Close gates (latch) but do not lock;
- Gather your family: take a neighbour or someone who needs help;
- Take critical items (medicine, purse, wallet, important documents, and keys) only if they are immediately available;
- Take pets in pet kennels or on leash;
- Do not use the telephone unless you need emergency service;
- Emergency personnel will check all houses and locations and mark them when cleared;
- Travel will only be permitted out of the park. Admittance at the Waterton Lakes National Park gate will be limited to emergency vehicles.
- All evacuees are strongly recommended to register at the reception and evacuation centre located in Pincher Creek at the Vertical Church (1200 Ken Thornton Blvd., located just south of Co-Op and Vista Village), even if you do not require assistance. Registering will provide a record that you were evacuated and enable authorities to contact you with any new information. You can register by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (put in subject line: “Evac Registration”) or by phoning 403-904-0021. Please provide name, number in party and contact phone number.
For more information contact the Parks Canada information line at 403-859-5109.
Blood Tribe: under a mandatory evacuation
The Blood Tribe remains under a local state of emergency due to the Waterton Parks wildfire potentially reaching the community, located southwest of Lethbridge.
A mandatory evacuation order has been declared for the Zone 1 area, which includes Fish Creek and St. Paul’s area extending north to Russell/Many Fingers residences.
Residence in Zone 3 (north of Russell, Many Fingers residences extending to Lavern and little Chicago area) should prepare to evacuate on short notice.
Evacuees are directed to go to the Standoff multi-purpose building and register.
Contact the Blood Tribe Police if you have transportation concerns.
Those unable to leave on their own are asked to contact Blood Tribe police for assistance.
Cardston County: under a mandatory evacuation
Cardston remains under a local state of emergency after a wildfire left Waterton Park and spread to the county.
Smoke may severely reduce visibility and create hazardous road conditions.
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for all areas between Waterton Park and Range Road 281 (Highway 800) from the U.S. border north to Township Road 40.
The evacuation centre is located at the Civic Centre 67 on 3 Avenue West in Cardston. The phone number is 403-653-3366.
Pincher Creek: under a mandatory evacuation
Pincher Creek remains under a state of emergency.
A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for residents south of Highway 505 to Waterton Park. Residents of this area should leave and head north on Highway 6.
A reception centre is set up at the Vertical Church, located in the 1200 block of Ken Thornton Boulevard.
Residents evacuating should go the reception centre or call 403-904-8016 to register.
Evacuation Update – South of Highway 505 to Waterton Park. A State of Local Emergency has been declared for Division 1 pic.twitter.com/RJb05KKkJV
— MD Of Pincher Creek (@md_of_pc) September 12, 2017
Cypress County: grass fire in the area
There is a grass fire causing smoke in the area of Highway 41 and Township Road 210.
Fire crews are on scene however visibility is reduced due to heavy smoke creating hazardous road conditions.
Evacuee registration and assistance
Evacuees should register at the reception centre by phone or email, even if they do not need assistance. Registering will provide a record that you were evacuated and enable authorities to contact you with any new information. Please provide your name, number of people in your party and phone number.
Pincher Creek and Waterton area reception centre
Vertical Church, 1200 Ken Thornton Blvd, Pincher Creek
Cardston County reception centre
Civic Centre, 67-3 Avenue W, Cardston
Special Area No. 2 reception centre
Blood Reserve reception centre
Standoff multipurpose building