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Five homes destroyed by Kenow wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:10AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:35PM MDT
The Kenow wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park has destroyed several buildings and some infrastructure and crews are hoping that the rain and cooler conditions will provide some relief.
The wildfire now covers an area of about 35,000 hectares and crews continue to fight the fire along the perimeter.
Firefighters worked tirelessly to protect the Waterton townsite but the main visitor centre was destroyed. Officials say the historic Prince of Wales hotel is still standing thanks to the efforts of Calgary and Taber fire crews.
In all, five homes, seven outbuildings, a bridge and some powerlines were destroyed by the fire.
"Anyone in the M.D. of Pincher Creek who did lose their home has been notified by the RCMP. Those people are aware and, at this time, as of right now, no other houses have been lost. Anybody that's still wondering should have a bit of a sigh of relief. If they haven't spoken to us, their houses are okay. I would like to express my condolences to those individuals that lost their homes," said Cst. Curtis Peters.
RCMP allowed some ranchers into the wildfire zone so they could feed and water cattle that had been left behind when farms were evacuated.
The residents were allowed in for a two hour period and police monitored the situation to make sure no one was the area that shouldn't be.
It’s hoped that firefighters will get a break as rain is in the forecast and the fire has been less aggressive lately.
"We're expecting a bit of downturn with the weather," said Leslie Lozinski, wildfire information officer. "It started to rain a little bit further north so as that edges down to us, I think we're going to be in a bit better situation."
On Wednesday morning, Lozinski said there was a change in the fire's behaviour.
"Fire behaviour up there today is what we call a Rank 1 to 2, so it's single trees burning as the past couple days it's been 5 to 6 which is continous crowning, continuous flamewalls. That behaviour was not seen last night so that's a positive thing as well."
Airtankers and helicopter worked to drop water on the fire at the south side of Sage Mountain.
A mandatory evacuation order for the Blood Tribe has been lifted and residents are being asked to take direction from administration.
Evacuation orders for the M.D. of Pincher Creek and Carston County remain and an evacuation centre has been set up in Pincher Creek for those who need it.
For the latest on the Kenow Wildfire and fire alerts, click HERE.