Three fires in one day in Swift Current

A grass fire burns out of control, threatening homes, and a brand new high school. .
A grass fire burns out of control, threatening homes, and a brand new high school. . Southwest TV News

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. – There were some tense moments in Swift Current, Sask., on Thursday as a grass fire threatened buildings on the city’s outskirts.

By evening, the fire department reported the blaze had been brought under control but added that crews would remain on scene overnight and the public was being asked to stay away from the area.

The fire began about 5:30 p.m. about two kilometres north of the city around Highway 4 and spread south, nearly to the edge of town.

“Oh my goodness, (the fire) is huge,” said Arlyssa Purcell as she watched from her parents’ home while the flames moved quickly, spurred on by high winds.

“It’s going right from the top of the hill all the way down to town.”

A city hospital was briefly put on evacuation alert, and eventually shut down its fans to limit exposure to smoke coming from the blaze.

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A shopping mall was cleared out as a precaution, along with a couple of major stores.

Craig Hilts got home from work and as he looked out his windows he realized he could see flames and billowing smoke.

“The flames were actually very high and they were stretched out very long,” Hilts said.

“There’s a row of trees and I believe just on the other side of the trees is actually a residence. Just next to that is the school.”

“And maybe then a quarter of a kilometre (away) you have the hospital. The flames got right into those (trees). And I think the City of Swift Current fire department did an outstanding job and kind of halted it right there.”

The fire department said in the end, no buildings were damaged.