A rapidly growing wildfire has forced authorities in southwestern Alberta to issue mandatory evacuation orders for several communities and Canada’s largest reserve near the border with the U.S. state of Montana.
The Kainai First Nation has declared a local state of emergency due to the Waterton Lakes National Park wildfire potentially reaching parts of the Blood Tribe reserve, about 200 kilometres southwest of Calgary.
The Blood Tribe has also issued a mandatory evacuation order for homes and apartments in Zone 1 of the Blood Reserve, and says residents of Zone 3 should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice.
— Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN) September 12, 2017
Alberta Emergency Services issued a mandatory evacuation order late Monday evening for residents of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9, located just north of the park.
As well, nearby Cardston County declared a state of emergency and told residents to head to the civic centre in the town of Cardston.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers are going door to door with Parks Canada staff to alert residents they need to leave their homes, the federal agency that manages national parks said.
Parks Canada has also issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas in Waterton Lakes National Park, including the Waterton Park townsite and all front-country and back-country trails, facilities and areas.
Parks Canada says as of Monday, the Kenow fire had covered about 114 square kilometres and travelled another 4.5 kilometres southeast along the Akamina Valley during Sunday’s burning period and as of Monday morning was approximately 1.5 kilometres from Akamina Pass.
The park remains closed to all incoming traffic, except emergency vehicles and authorized personnel.
With files from The Canadian Press