Fire crews continued to battle a wildfire west of Calgary on Saturday that could be seen from the Trans Canada highway.
The work continued all day Saturday with helicopters trying to extinguish the fire from the air while crews on the ground made sure it didn’t spread.
At 5 p.m. Friday, first responders were alerted to the fire that started close to Trans Canada highway, near Lac Des Arcs.
Razors Edge Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park was closed due to the nearby fire.
“It caught my eye right away as we were coming through,” said Mark Lang on Saturday. The volunteer firefighter with the Crossfield Fire Department was on his way to the Lac Des Arcs campground when he saw the smoke near the highway east of the Heart Creek Trail Head.
He said it looked like the fire started in the ditch and RCMP were controlling traffic in the area.
“Coming from the east side, so outside of Calgary, you would have a definite haze from all the other forest fires, but this was growing in intense colouring,” Lang said.
The wind caused the fire to spread to the east, covering around 10 hectares.
By Saturday morning, the fire was classified as held, according to Alberta Wildfire information officer Derrick Forsythe. There is no word yet on what started the fire near Lac Des Arcs.
“There is such a heavy fire load in the area and, of course, with dry conditions, but they definitely had a really quick handle on it. You could tell they were getting it knocked down. The smoke was going from darker colours to whiter colors. They did a great job for sure,” Lang said.
Alberta Wildfire officials say the fire hazard in northern Alberta is low because of rain and cooling temperatures but ranges from high to extreme in the southern part of the province.
“Our statistics from last year show that 88 per cent of all wildfires in Alberta were related to some human caused activity. So given the conditions in the south with really high danger ratings, we are just asking everybody to take extra care with whatever you were doing on the landscape over the coming weeks to ensure that we minimize the risk of any new starts,” Forsythe said.
He reminds campers that a fire advisory remains in effect in the southern portions of the Calgary Forest Area.
Under this restriction:
- Existing fire permits are suspended;
- All outdoor fires presently burning under permit must be extinguished, unless approved to continue by a Forest Officer;
- Safe wood campfires within fire rings in campgrounds and backyard fire pits are allowed.
- Wood campfires on public land;
- Fireworks and exploding targets.
- Wood campfires on private land;
- Wood campfires within provincial campgrounds in a designated campfire ring;
- Backyard fire pits on private land;
- Charcoal briquette barbeques;
- Propane or natural gas-fueled appliances;
- Indoor wood fires;
- Open flame oil devices.
As of Saturday morning, there were 58 wildfires burning across Alberta, three of which were out of control.