Grass fire prompts evacuation near Alberta's Chain Lakes Provincial Park
'Serious fire' of about 1,200 hectares burns near Chimney Rock Road area in the MD of Ranchland
Another wildfire fanned by high winds has broken out in southern Alberta, prompting an evacuation order and the closure of a 70-kilometre stretch of Highway 22.
"There is a serious fire which is affecting the Chimney Rock Road area of the MD of Ranchland," reads a warning issued Wednesday by the Alberta Emergency Alert system.
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Early Wednesday evening, a mandatory evacuation order was placed for residents on all of Chimney Rock Road and south to Highway 520 on the west side of Highway 22.
As of 5 p.m., there was also an evacuation alert issued for residents north of Chimney Rock Road to Highway 533 on the west side of Highway 22.
Alberta Wildfire listed the fire as "out of control" as of 7 p.m. and estimated it had grown to 1,200 hectares in size.
It is burning near Chain Lakes Provincial Park, which is located about 120 kilometres south of Calgary.
There are homes in the area.
The fire remained just west of Highway 22, about 10 kilometres south of Chain Lakes, according to an update posted online shortly after 6 p.m. by the MD of Willow Creek.
"Willow Creek Emergency Crews on scene and will remain on site with Forestry and the MD of Foothills throughout the night," the update reads.
Highway 22 has been closed between Highway 533 and Highway 3 due to the fire.
Firefighters and helicopters are battling the flames and heavy equipment was also being deployed, Alberta Wildfire spokesman Travis Fairweather said.
It's the latest in a series of grass fires in southern Alberta over the past week that have been exacerbated by high winds.
The province responded to seven different wildfires last week including ones burning in or near Coleman, Gleichen, Cypress County, the MD of Willow Creek, Airdrie, Acadia Valley and Siksika First Nation.
A total of 10 homes and two farms were lost in those fires, according to Alberta Municipal Affairs.