March 1, 2022

Wildfire burning in southern Alberta foothills west of Nanton |

While the wildfire season is officially over in Alberta, a blaze flared up overnight in the southwestern area of Ranchland #66.

An Alberta Emergency Alert issued early Wednesday morning said the fire was burning on the west side of Highway 22, about two kilometers south of Highway 533.

According to Alberta Wildfire, the out-of-control blaze was about 100 hectares in size — as of 1:41 a.m. — and the cause was still under investigation.

The fire was headed in a easterly direction, fuelled by damaging westerly winds. An Environment Canada wind warning said the gusts could reach 140 km/h along the foothills where the fire is located.

Read more:
62% of Alberta wildfires were caused by humans in 2021

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At first, residents of the rural area between Highway 533 and Chimney Rock Road were asked to evacuate immediately to Nanton, which is about 60 kilometres south of Calgary. A reception centre was set up at the Nanton Community Hall (2204-18 St.)

The critical emergency alert was downgraded to an information alert shortly before 6 a.m., when the province said area residents were no longer at immediate risk.

“Evacuees are safe to return home at this time. Residents in the area between Highway 533 and Chimney Rock Road are on standby to be evacuated again should winds shift. Be prepared to evacuate on short notice,” the updated information said.

The winds are expected to remain through the day, weakening in the evening but remaining gusty into Thursday.

Global News has a crew headed to the area. This story will be updated as more details become available.

— More to come…

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