Residents return home after massive grass fire
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012 6:58AM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 11, 2012 1:26PM MDT
Many southern Alberta residents are returning home after a massive grass fire forced the evacuation of several communities.
Crews spent the night battling the blaze on the Blood Reserve, west of Lethbridge, and have the fire under control.
Residents of Coalhurst and Lethbridge's Westside Trailer Court were allowed to return home after they were evacuated on Monday night.
The grass fire broke out when a power line went down on the Blood Reserve during high winds and spread quickly.
The fire prompted evacuations in the neighbourhood of Mountain Meadows, a trailer park at the north end of the city of Lethbridge, parts of Township 822, and the entire community of Coalhurst.
All the displaced residents were sent to a shelter in Picture Butte.
Highway 3 was closed while crews battled the blaze and has since been reopened.
The flames consumed over 4,800 hectares and at least one home on the Blood Reserve. Several other homes suffered smoke and property damages.
“We don't have a count on structure loss yet, and we do have one report of an injury that was transported by ambulance from Coalhurst. Again, at this time we are in a condition that the fire is being held,” Brian Cornforth, the Lethbridge Fire Chief, said on Monday night.
Crews from ten different agencies are keeping an eye on hotspots and hope to have the fire out in the next day or two.
A second fire near Milk River is also under control and an evacuation order was lifted on Tuesday morning.
That blaze destroyed 26,000 acres and was stopped just 4 kilometres from the community.
Almost 40 power poles were either burned or knocked down during the wind storm and fires.
Fortis Alberta is restoring power to the areas that were impacted and says nearly 200 customers were without power.
For full updates on the grass fire, go to the City of Lethbridge’s website.