KANANASKIS – An out-of-control wildfire in the Ghost wilderness area on the eastern edge of Banff National Park has grown to 346 hectares in size over the weekend so far.
Alberta Wildfire reported on social media that the blaze was 120 hectares as of Saturday evening (Sept. 5). However, as of Sunday morning (Sept. 6), the Alberta Wildfire fire status map showed it at 346 hectares.
Firefighting crews, helicopters and air tankers are working to gain control of the wildfire, which began on Friday (Sept. 4) in Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, 25 kilometres from the Hamlet of Benchlands in the MD of Bighorn.
The region remains under an emergency alert due to the wildfire, although officials with the province indicated it is not a threat to any communities or campgrounds in the area. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Air tankers were using Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park as a source for water to fight the fire. The smoke plume could be seen Saturday from the lake. Four helicopters and four wildfire crews are working to get the wildfire under control – totalling 26 people actively fighting the fire.
"Firefighters will be using controlled aerial ignition techniques to fight the wildfire and extra smoke may be visible in the area as a result," stated a post by Alberta Wildfire on Saturday evening.
Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Cochrane were all still under a special weather statement as of Sunday morning forecasting an "abrupt transition to fall" over the long weekend.
By the end of Monday (Sept. 7), rainfall of five to 30 millimetres is forecast and snowfall of up to five centimetres is expected at higher elevations.