ALBERTA

Grassfire fuelled by high winds sweeps across area of southern Alberta

04/01/2015 12:09 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT
BLACKIE, Alta. - Southern Alberta fire departments were kept busy Tuesday night responding to at least three wildfires west and south of Calgary.

Smoke drifted across the Trans-Canada Highway in two locations — one near Hermitage Road and the other near Highway 22 — where grass fires kept burning, being doused and then starting up again.

Meanwhile, a local state of emergency was declared in the Municipal District of Foothills when a fire started burning near the hamlet of Blackie, southeast of Calgary.

By evening, the fire had been brought under control but high winds that kept shifting direction had kept residents at the ready in the event an evacuation was needed.

One firefighter sustained minor smoke inhalation and was transported to High River Hospital, but was later released.

Officials were warning that smoke might severely reduce visibility and create hazardous road conditions in the area. However, there were no reports of damage to buildings or injuries.

Foothills Fire Department stations including Blackie, Cayley, Heritage Pointe, Cayley, and Longview were assisted in fighting the blaze by fire departments in Okotoks, High River, Vulcan County and Claresholm.

Glenn Logan, who was on his way home to Lomond from Calgary, drove by the blaze earlier in the day and said it did not look good.

“When I turned east at High River, you could see this huge smoke on the horizon as I got closer to Blackie," he said. "It was about five miles northeast of Blackie, you could see it quite easily from the highway."

Greg Schaalje, deputy fire chief for the Foothills Fire Department, told 660News, said the fire was contained more quickly than expected.

“It was just an extremely great effort from the Foothills Fire Department, from the Okotoks Fire Department, High River Fire Department, Vulcan, the High River Hutterite Colony, and we had a bunch of neighbours that helped. It was an awesome effort,” Schaalje said.

(CHQR, CFFR)

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