‘Rapidly spreading’ wildfire sparks emergency alert, evacuations in southeastern Alberta’s hamlet of Hilda

Click to play video: 'Video shows smoke from wildfire that sparked emergency alert in Alberta'
Video shows smoke from wildfire that sparked emergency alert in Alberta
WATCH: Video submitted by Ashley Herrmann shows smoke billowing from a Cypress County wildfire burning in southeastern Alberta on Tuesday afternoon – Oct 17, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: As of 1:08 p.m., the Alberta government said an emergency alert for Cypress County had ended. Officials said at 9 a.m. on Wednesday the wildfire in the Hilda and Schuler areas of Cypress County had been extinguished.

An Alberta Emergency Alert was issued Tuesday afternoon for Cypress County because of a “serious grass and wildfire” in the area.

Residents of Hilda were asked to immediately evacuate. Residents should go to the emergency reception centre at the Cypress County Office in the hamlet of Dunmore.

Residents of Hilda were originally asked to go to a reception centre in the hamlet of Schuler. However, Alberta Emergency Alert later said they should go to the reception centre in the hamlet of Dunmore.

Shortly after 11 p.m., the Alberta government said the hamlet of Schuler was also evacuated.

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The government added that evacuees should head to Medicine Hat. In total, about 200 residents were forced to leave their homes.

RCMP said four homes in rural Cypress County were lost in the fire.

Damage from the Oct. 17, 2017 wildfire seen in the Alberta hamlet of Hilda. Tim Lee, Global News

Residents are asked to sign in when they arrive at the reception centre.

The province’s emergency alert program said the fire was located between Township Road 180 and Township Road 190, north of the hamlet of Hilda.

The fire was moving towards the hamlet of Hilda.

It said winds are pushing the fire in a “northeast direction” and that smoke is “severely reducing the visibility and creating hazardous road conditions.”

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Cypress County Emergency Services are fighting the flames and the RCMP has shut down northbound and southbound traffic along Highway 41 in the Hilda area due to visibility.

Authorities are asking motorists to avoid the area.

READ MORE: Wildfire spurs emergency evacuation in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass

The emergency situation in the Hilda area was just one of several serious fire-related situations in southern Alberta on Tuesday night.

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As of 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the Alberta government said the wildfire had been put out in the Hilda and Schuler areas of Cypress County. Residents were allowed to return Wednesday morning.

The wildfire alert was no longer in effect for Cypress County as of 1:08 p.m. Within Cypress County, Highway 41 north is open to traffic in both directions.

For the latest information on the fires and evacuation alerts, follow Alberta Emergency Alert online and on Twitter.

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