It says here that Blairmore is on one-hour evacuation, but I saw on the news at 11pm that the residents were again evacuated tonight.

Lost Creek fire in southern Alta burns a kilometre from town

CROWSNEST PASS, Alta. (CP) - A massive forest fire in southwestern Alberta continued to pose serious problems for crews trying to subdue it Monday. The Lost Creek fire gained strength and was burning about one kilometre east of the community of Hillcrest in this scenic mountain pass on the British Columbia boundary.

For weeks the fire has been burning dangerously close to Hillcrest and other nearby communities in the Crowsnest Pass.

Fire information officer Brydon Ward said crews are working hard to extinguish the fire for the peace of mind of the community.

"It's not great to see fire above your home," he said. "Although it poses no threat, because the winds are going the other direction, we still want to get that fire out so that they (the residents) are not concerned."

Nearly 2,000 residents of Hillcrest and Blairmore were forced out of their homes for several days earlier this month because of the blaze.

Crews are aggressively attacking the fire, said Ward.

"We've got ground crews. We've got our two heavy helicopters bucketing right now, hitting any spots that come up with retardant," he said. "So we are putting every resource we can to get that stopped."

Some area residents were evacuated Sunday because of extreme smoke conditions.

People in Hillcrest, as well as Blairmore and Coleman, remain on a one-hour evacuation alert.

The Verendrye Fire in Kootenay National Park, located in southeastern British Columbia, has now blackened 60 square kilometres of forest.

But Parks Canada has reopened Highway 93, which runs south from the Trans-Canada Highway and leads through the park. However, Parks Canada warned that drivers may face lengthy delays and road closures if smoke conditions change.

In west-central Alberta, rain allowed fire bans in Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg to be lifted Monday.

A forest closure and total fire ban remains in effect in Clearwater River, Alta.

The Canadian Press, 2003

08/11/2003 22:41 EST