Fire burning near Highway 2 claims home, prompts 100 to evacuate from Airdrie area

Click to play video: '2 homes destroyed by grass fire near Highway 2'
2 homes destroyed by grass fire near Highway 2
WATCH: Two homes were destroyed by a fire that ripped through the Sharp Hill area in Balzac near Highway 2 on Tuesday. Doug Vaessen has details – Oct 18, 2017

About 100 people living in the Sharp Hill neighbourhood in the Airdrie/Balzac area were evacuated Tuesday afternoon because of a fire near Highway 2 that moved east for hours.

READ MORE: Siksika First Nation, Alberta’s Wheatland County under wildfire evacuation

Police said the fire approached the southeast side of Airdrie “at a high rate of speed due to severe winds.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, city officials said all residents whose homes hadn’t been impacted by the fire have been allowed to return home.

The City of Airdrie said one home was lost and one “sustained substantial damage” because of the fire.

A home in Balzac, Alta. is destroyed by fire on Oct. 17, 2017. Dani Lantela, Global News

“High winds quickly extended the fire from Airdrie into Rocky View County and grew to approximately 20 hectares in size,” read a statement from the city.

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“Due to the sheer amount of equipment we were able to send to the scene, this fire did not do anywhere near the damage it might have done given the extraordinary winds,” Rocky View County spokesperson Grant Kaiser said Tuesday.

The Airdrie Fire Prevention Bureau is investigating the fire and officials said cause and damage estimates are not available at this time.

As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, city officials said Rocky View County Fire Services and the Airdrie Fire Department remained on scene monitoring for hot spots.

For information, visit the Rocky View Safe & Sound website here or call 403-230-1401

READ MORE: Wind wreaks havoc on QE2 between Edmonton and Calgary

Smoke and flames from a fire in Airdrie seen on Oct. 17, 2017. Submitted by Cory Beck

WATCH: Global Cameraman Dani Lantela and Scott Fee were on scene as a building was destroyed as a grass fire burned near Airdrie.

Click to play video: 'Building engulfed as grass fire burns near Airdrie'
Building engulfed as grass fire burns near Airdrie

Justin Mahoney was driving south on Highway 2 at around 5 p.m. when he saw the smoke.

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“I was just headed to the mall and it looked like a big dust storm at first because of the really strong winds. But then, as we got closer, we could start to see flames,” he said.

“There was a fire trail leading to one of the nearby acreages… [the wind] was picking up pretty bad.”
Smoke seen from the east side of Highway 2 as a fire spurred evacuations in Airdrie on Oct. 17, 2017. Joe McFarland / News Talk 770

Powerful winds were wreaking havoc across other parts of southern Alberta and fires were spreading because of the strong wind gusts.

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WATCH: Viewer video sent in by numerous Global viewers shows a grass fire burning north of Calgary.

Click to play video: 'Viewer video shows grass fire north of Calgary'
Viewer video shows grass fire north of Calgary

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

Much of Alberta was under a wind warning on Tuesday.

The RCMP said officers and firefighters were evacuating people living in Airdrie’s Sharp Hill neighbourhood on Tuesday afternoon because of a fire near Highway 2 that was moving east. COURTESY: Brandi Robin

With files from Global’s Emily Mertz 


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