Campers in southern Alberta breath sigh of relief after fire sparks near Waterton Lakes National Park

Smoke from the Wise Creek fire darkens the sky over Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park. Submitted: Carey Fowler

Ken King said he didn’t feel too stressed when he saw a plume of white smoke rolling over the mountains at Waterton Lakes National Park.

Despite being evacuated from Crooked Creek Campground last September due to the Kenow wildfire, King stayed calm as the thick smoke passed over the area.

“’Same old, same old. Here we go again. Déjà vu,’ is what people were saying about the fire,” he said.

“[It was] not really a concern because it’s a different situation. There’s a lot less to burn in the way.”
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He has been visiting the campsite for 18 years but said seeing the Wise Creek fire brought back memories of last September.

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“On the day that the fire came through, I was evacuated to Cardston and others were evacuated to other locations. And our worst fears were realized, so to speak,” King said.

The Municipal District of Pincher Creek ended an emergency alert on Friday morning as the Wise Creek fire continued to burn about seven kilometres west of the B.C.-Alberta border.

“Should the situation change, a new alert will be issued,” read a statement from the district.

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Alberta Health Services has put out a precautionary air quality advisory for southwest Alberta.

The campsite’s manager said it was pretty smokey on Thursday night and made for an interesting sunset.

“But everything…was just covered in smoke; it was pretty dense. Especially with some of the campers who have asthma problems, they were pretty concerned that they might have to pack up and leave,” said Elaine Wight.

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She also noted the campsite hasn’t had any cancellations for the long weekend because of the fire.

As of Friday morning, the fire was 120 hectares in size.

The municipal district said a suppression team is on standby in case the blaze creeps toward Alberta.

-With files from Heide Pearson

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