Out-of-control wildfire near Canmore expands to 551 hectares

Alberta Wildfire

The wildfire burning north of Banff National Park has spiked from 10 hectares to 551 hectares since an alert was first issued on Friday.

“Alberta forestry crews were conducting back burning to secure a proper fire perimeter, hence the large increase in size of this fire to 346 hectares,” a statement from Bighorn County reads. “Resources will be allocated to the fire again tomorrow.”

The fire originated near the base of Blackrock Mountain but is growing in size as it moves north and up the mountain slope, according to Alberta Wildfire.

By Friday night, the fire sat at 346 hectares — but by Saturday afternoon the out-of-control blaze had grown significantly to 551 hectares.

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However, people are asked to stay away from the area as firefighters, helicopters and air tankers try to get the fire under control.

The Aylmer Pass and Lookout trails are closed for public safety, but the Minnewanka Lakeshore trail is still open.

Alberta Wildfire warns extra smoke may be visible because of the aerial firefighting efforts.

Read more: Alberta wildfire season ‘quiet’; officials caution that could quickly change

No people or property are believed to be at risk at the time of the alert, 7:46 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5.

The cause of the wildfire hasn’t been determined yet.

Fire risk is rated from high to extreme across Southern Alberta through the September long weekend.

Overall, 598 wildfires have burned through more than 867 hectares of land in Alberta so far in 2020.