‘Out of control’ wildfire burning in MD of Bighorn

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Everyone in the area of Richard’s Road, Highway 40, the Summer Village of Waiparous, the hamlet of Benchlands, Richard’s and Pears Road, Ghost Country Place and West Jamieson Road are asked to be ready evacuate on short notice.

The fire was first reported in early September and is blamed on the failure to extinguish a campfire.

There’s considerable smoke in the vicinity of the Crossing at Ghost River conference centre, said area resident Carol Pegg, who works there.

“We’re just waiting to hear what the next steps are,”  said Pegg, who’s lived in the area for seven years.

“Hopefully, we can get some precipitation soon and there’s no wind right now, so maybe it’ll help firefighters.”

Waiparous Village is one of the areas northwest of Cochrane that is on evacuation alert after the status of the Devil's Head wildfire was changed to out of control on Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Gavin Young/Postmedia
Waiparous Village is one of the areas northwest of Cochrane that is on evacuation alert after the status of the Devil’s Head wildfire was changed to out of control on Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Gavin Young/Postmedia

The fire, she said, is still about 25 km from the conference centre and even further from her home but Pegg said she’ll still pack up irreplaceable items like hard drives as a precaution.

“People aren’t too worried…you can’t worry about what you can’t control,” said Pegg.

On Saturday, some visitors to Banff National Park were greeted by smoke from the wildfire and prescribed burns that obscured mountains, particularly around Lake Minnewanka not far from the Devil’s Head area.

In a post last Friday on the Municipal District of Bighorn’s website, firefighters’ progress was called promising, though new helipads had to be created to aid the effort.

The Calgary region has received little precipitation in the past month and none is expected until Sunday when cooling temperatures are accompanied by a chance of showers.

A ban on open fires is in effect in the northern portion of the Calgary Forest Area and access to the area is limited to those who have entry permits.

-with files from Bill Kaufmann

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