1. #1
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    Default BLAIRMORE, ALBERTA being EVACUATED - so much for that "relief"

    It hasn't been officially reported yet, but someone with parents living in Blairmore just called into the radio station and said they were being evacuated and had an hour to leave. This was about 15 minutes or so ago. The girl said they are being evacuated to Coleman, which is 10 minutes from Blairmore.

    Weather briefly lends a hand to crews fighting fire in southwestern Alberta

    BILL GRAVELAND

    CROWSNEST PASS, Alta. (CP) -Fire crews took advantage of a small break in the weather Sunday and launched a full-scale offensive on a raging forest fire that threatens several mountain communities in the southwestern corner of Alberta.

    "We are fighting this fire aggressively. This is a window of opportunity for us to get in there and aggressively fight this fire and that's what we're gonna do," said fire information officer Rick Strickland after clouds moved into the Crowsnest Pass region along with light showers.

    "It will allow us to get in there and start working against the intensity of the fire where it's safe and start hitting some of those hotspots," he said.

    The rain was not enough to douse the blaze, but it was welcome nonetheless after a horrific day Saturday when temperatures soared past 30 C and gusting southwest winds drove the out-of-control fire to within 500 metres of a trailer park in Hillcrest.

    Crews were also able to save two homes in nearby Evergreen Estates, an upscale residential subdivision that was virtually surrounded by flames.

    "If you compared this area to a war zone this would have been hand-to-hand combat," said Rick Arthur, a fire behaviour specialist from Alberta Sustainable Resources.

    "They had a hell of a job to control and work in here to save structures from being lost," he said.

    The remaining 800 residents of the Hillcrest gathered up what they could and fled their homes Saturday, joining 100 other evacuees from the community who have not seen their homes for more than a week.

    The fire grew to 180 square kilometres on Sunday, threatening several communities strung along Highway 3 that make up the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass - Hillcrest, Bellevue, Frank, Blairmore and Coleman.

    Residents have watched the ominous flames advance on their communities for days. The roaring flames were within half a kilometre of Hillcrest proper on Sunday and only only three kilometres southwest of Blairmore.

    Those fighting the fire got some spiritual help from parishioners of St. Luke's Anglican and the Crowsnest Pass United Church on Sunday.

    "We prayed for the wind to go away and for the rain to come," said Margaret Chadwick, 76.

    "We have to put our trust in the Lord. That's where our strength comes from," said Daryl Pewtriss who said he will continue praying.

    Anglican Rev. Bill Inglis said the service wasn't about just the weather.

    "There's a lot of appreciation for how much people are doing. Firefighters, people in town - that's a big part of what people were feeling this morning," he said.

    "There have been no fatalities and the weather is better today," Inglis noted.

    About 840 firefighters were trying to contain the blaze, which covered about 180 square kilometres.

    Crews were doing a backburn on a nearby mountain ridge and helicopters were dropping buckets of water on the forest fire.

    Ground crews were supported by four air tankers, 20 helicopters, 34 bulldozers and 20 water trucks.

    There was one spot of good news in Alberta on Sunday. Parks Canada spokesman Ifan Thomas said the Syncline Ridge fire had been contained in the back country of Jasper National Park.

    Thomas said the risk between Talbot Lake and Syncline Ridge and down the Athabasca Valley had been greatly reduced.

    However, facilities in the Miette Hot Springs and Pocahontas remain closed and a park-wide fire ban remains in effect.

    In neighboring British Columbia, more than 10,000 people have been evacuated because of the threat posed by more than 350 fires and the government has extended a state of emergency to cover the entire province.

    Officials are keying on four blazes in the south - two wildfires near Kamloops and another in the west Okanagan Valley.

    As the fire in the Okanagan moved in a northeast direction, residents in the community of Armstrong were put on evacuation alert.

    One blaze 50 kilometres north of Kamloops that forced many of the 3,500 residents of Barriere to flee was still burning in the downtown area and two subdivisions.

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/3/2003 17:29 EST
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Default

    OK its official now

    Raging fire forces evacuation of second community in Crowsnest Pass, Alta.

    BILL GRAVELAND

    CROWSNEST PASS, Alta. (CP) - A raging forest fire forced residents of a second community in this mountain pass in southwestern Alberta to grab their belongings and abandon their homes Sunday afternoon.

    After authorities gave them one hour to leave, people living in Blairmore were loading up their cars, pickups and motorhomes with whatever the vehicles would hold and pulling out of their driveways.

    They joined about 900 residents of nearby Hillcrest who have already been evacuated.

    The fire grew to 180 square kilometres on Sunday, threatening several communities strung along Highway 3 that make up the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass - Hillcrest, Bellevue, Frank, Blairmore and Coleman.

    Residents have watched the ominous fire advance for days. The roaring flames were within half a kilometre of Hillcrest proper on Sunday and only only three kilometres southwest of Blairmore.

    The evacuation of Blairmore came even though fire crews took advantage of a small break in the weather earlier Sunday to launch a full-scale offensive against the out-of-control blaze, called the Lost Creek fire.

    "We are fighting this fire aggressively. This is a window of opportunity for us to get in there and aggressively fight this fire and that's what we're gonna do," fire information officer Rick Strickland said Sunday morning after clouds moved into the pass, along with light showers.

    "It will allow us to get in there and start working against the intensity of the fire where it's safe and start hitting some of those hotspots," he said.

    The rain was not enough to douse the blaze, but it was welcome nonetheless after a horrific day Saturday when temperatures soared past 30 C and gusting southwest winds drove the fire to within 500 metres of a trailer park in Hillcrest.

    On Saturday night the fire burned through nearby Evergreen Estates, an upscale residential subdivision, but firefighters battled throughout the night and were able to save the homes.

    "If you compared this area to a war zone this would have been hand-to-hand combat," said Rick Arthur, a fire behaviour specialist from Alberta Sustainable Resources.

    "They had a hell of a job to control and work in here to save structures from being lost," he said.

    About 800 residents of the Hillcrest gathered up what they could and fled their homes Saturday, joining 100 other evacuees from that community who have not seen their homes for more than a week.

    Those fighting the fire got some spiritual help from parishioners of St. Luke's Anglican and the Crowsnest Pass United Church on Sunday.

    "We prayed for the wind to go away and for the rain to come," said Margaret Chadwick, 76.

    "We have to put our trust in the Lord. That's where our strength comes from," said Daryl Pewtriss who said he will continue praying.

    Anglican Rev. Bill Inglis said the service wasn't about just the weather.

    "There's a lot of appreciation for how much people are doing. Firefighters, people in town - that's a big part of what people were feeling this morning," he said.

    "There have been no fatalities and the weather is better today," Inglis noted.

    About 840 firefighters were trying to contain the blaze, which covered about 180 square kilometres.

    Crews were doing a backburn on a nearby mountain ridge and helicopters were dropping buckets of water on the forest fire.

    Ground crews were supported by four air tankers, 20 helicopters, 34 bulldozers and 20 water trucks.

    There was one spot of good news in Alberta on Sunday. Parks Canada spokesman Ifan Thomas said the Syncline Ridge fire had been contained in the back country of Jasper National Park.

    Thomas said the risk between Talbot Lake and Syncline Ridge and down the Athabasca Valley had been greatly reduced.

    However, facilities in the Miette Hot Springs and Pocahontas remain closed and a park-wide fire ban remains in effect.

    In neighboring British Columbia, more than 10,000 people have been evacuated because of the threat posed by more than 350 fires and the government has extended a state of emergency to cover the entire province.

    Officials are keying on four blazes in the south - two wildfires near Kamloops and another in the west Okanagan Valley.

    As the fire in the Okanagan moved in a northeast direction, residents in the community of Armstrong were put on evacuation alert.

    One blaze 50 kilometres north of Kamloops that forced many of the 3,500 residents of Barriere to flee was still burning in the downtown area and two subdivisions.

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/3/2003 18:15 EST
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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