Two homes were evacuated in Parkland County on Friday evening as fire crews were called to battle two different wildfires west of Edmonton.
Sarah Mate, director of communications for Parkland County, told Global News crews were called to the scene of an Entwistle, Alta.-area wildfire at Township Road 534 and 50 Street at 7 p.m. Residents of two homes were forced to leave as a result of the blaze and people were asked to stay away from the area.
Late Friday night, Parkland County’s deputy fire chief said crews had brought the fire under control and the residents were allowed back in their homes.
“On the west side of the fire, there were some homes that we evacuated as a precautionary measure but they were not directly threatened,” Chad Moore said.
“We had a fire covering about 80 acres,” Moore went on to say, adding about 25 firefighters in total responded, including from two local fire departments and from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
He said two abandoned structures were lost in the blaze but no occupied structures were destroyed.
Suzanne Williams lives in Entwistle and said she and her children saw the blaze when they were walking home from a visit with their grandmother.
“We saw smoke coming up over the hill and somebody stopped us and said there were flames right behind the hill,” she said. “We started dialing 911 and while I was on the phone, the flames came up over the hill and a tree burst into flames and it was getting closer to the house and going down the treeline.
“We panicked a bit, put the kids in the car.”
No injuries were reported.
Watch below: March 1 marked the official start of wildfire season in Alberta. Joe Scarpelli filed this report on March 1, 2018.
Another fire was burning in the area of Highway 16 and Highway 60. Mate said that blaze was under control as of 7 p.m.
Mate did not say how large that fire was.
On Friday night, officials announced a fire ban had been put in place for the county.
“No campfires or other open fires are allowed, including charcoal briquettes,” Parkland County said on its Facebook page. “Gas or propane stoves/barbecues and portable propane fire pits are allowed.
“All fire permits are suspended or cancelled, and no new fire permits will be issued.”
Moore wasn’t able to say when the fire ban would be lifted.
“With the hot conditions coming tomorrow and the wind likely to pick up again, we want to be extra cautious,” he said Friday. “We’ve had numerous fires throughout the week and a couple of larger ones today.
“We’re asking residents to be extra cautious around any pen flame, careful around cigarette butts… [the dry conditions and wind are] very volatile.”
For the latest information on the fire risk status in Parkland County, click here.
View photos of the fire near Highway 16 in the gallery below: