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Firefighters called to grass fire at Alberta’s Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site

Click to play video: 'Crews knock down fire at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump' Crews knock down fire at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
WATCH: A fire broke out on the hillside where the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump world heritage site’s visitor centre sits on Thursday afternoon. As Danica Ferris reports, fire crews prevented any major damage at the tourist attraction. – Aug 5, 2021

About 30 firefighters from four stations were called to a UNESCO World Heritage Site west of Fort Macleod, Alta., on Thursday after a grass fire ignited there.

The RCMP said firefighters were called to a “structure and grass fire” at the Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site.

Kelly Starling with Willow Creek Emergency Services said the site’s interpretive centre was evacuated after multiple calls were made about the fire at about noon.

He said some of the building’s exterior concrete was damaged and there was smoke damage as well.

“No injuries were sustained and traffic in the area is not impacted at this time,” the RCMP said. “The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however, the initial investigation suggests it is not suspicious in nature.

“The fire is currently under control and crews remain on scene.”

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READ MORE: Officials say southern Alberta fire risk remains high

“We’re pretty lucky that it wasn’t an open field,” Starling said, adding that had the wind picked up, things could have turned out differently. “The terrain… helped slow it down.”

He said in the end, about a hectare of land was burnt. He added that because of hot and dry conditions, fire crews would remain at the site for several hours to monitor hot spots.

According to its website, the Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump site and interpretive centre aims to preserve and interpret thousands of years of Plains Buffalo culture. The buffalo jump was used for thousand of years by Indigenous people to kill buffalo by driving them off a cliff. The dead buffalos were then used for a number of different purposes, including to help build shelters and to make clothing.

–With files from Global News’ Danica Ferris

Watch below: Some Global News videos about grass fires in Alberta.

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