A fire southeast of Airdrie that swept through the Sharp Hill community Tuesday afternoon was caused by the "improper disposal of smoking material" and made worse by strong winds, fire officials said Thursday.

The origin of the blaze was a grassy area near the intersection of Township Road 264 and Range Road 294, southwest of the community, the Airdrie Fire Department said in a release.

"The initial small fire accelerated quickly and violently due to extreme wind conditions present in the area Tuesday afternoon."

The fire forced an evacuation of residents from the community.

Extreme weather in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan had wildfires breaking out in multiple communities causing property destruction, loss of human and animal life and even blowing debris and glass from shattered office tower windows in downtown Calgary.

"The Airdrie Fire Department urges the public to dispose of smoking materials safely and properly. They should never be thrown from windows of automobiles or placed into containers of plant material," the release said.