Castle Mountain Resort still under mandatory evacuation

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WATCH: The Blood Reserve is no longer under an evacuation order, and residents of Twin Butte are allowed limited access... Castle Mountain Resort evacuees are not permitted access to their homes. Elaine Van Rootselaar finds out how it’s affecting them and what their concerns are – Sep 14, 2017

The Castle Mountain Resort would usually be buzzing with new hires, chair lift maintenance and other pre-winter preparations this time of year. But 10-year-resident Fraser Stewart said it’s definitely not business as usual this week.

READ MORE: Stepping up to the line of fire: crews from across southern Alberta battle Kenow wildfire

“Some of the cabins have sprinklers mounted around them and on the roof, my cabin has that as well and its going as we speak,” he said Thursday.

More than 130 homes and other structures in the area were evacuated on Tuesday as a precautionary measure because of the growing wildfire 23 kilometers south of the West Castle Wetlands.

The Kenow Moutnain wildfire burning in Waterton Lakes National Park is the reason for evacuations throughout southwestern Alberta. The northern edge of that blaze is being re-named the Castle Branch wildfire.

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Stewart is a retired firefighter, and said while he’s watching the Kenow fire, he’s also concerned about another one nearby.

“There’s also one south of us, across the B.C. border,” Stewart said. “If Mother Nature sends a southwestern wind, it could also could be a serious concern.”

READ MORE: Waterton wildfire update: re-entry to park, townsite could take weeks

Brad Brush, general manager of the Castle Mountain Resort, said they’re staying positive, but are prepared for the worst.

“It’s still very dry, there hasn’t been a lot of moisture, so it’s still a valid concern.”

Stewart said he and his wife aren’t surprised by the evacuation, and certainly were not caught off guard.

“We started packing our emergency kit in June. We hadn’t gotten rain for several months then, so we made sure we were prepared.”

The resort manager said the highest priority if the fire comes closer is protecting the resort’s energy source, a propane distribution system. He said they would need to keep the propane tank cool and make sure all distribution lines are closed off.

READ MORE: The Kenow wildfire forced Waterton Park’s animals to flee

For now, the few year-round residents and business owners say they’re waiting to see what happens, but they are well taken care of in the meantime.

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“Every one is there with a hug, a word, and a prayer, so we’re doing fine.” Stewart said, “We’ll be OK.”

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