Airdrie-area neighbourhood evacuated as wildfire destroys home

A neighbourhood southeast of Airdrie was placed under a sudden evacuation order Tuesday afternoon as a grass fire whipped up by strong winds raced toward homes.

Flames have spread to structures in the area, according to witnesses

Thick smoke from a fire burning just east of Highway 2 near Airdrie. Traffic was being blocked on Township Road 264, as RCMP were concerned about shifting winds. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC)

Read the latest on the wildfires in Alberta | Wildfires force multiple evacuations across southern Alberta

A neighbourhood southeast of Airdrie, Alta., was placed under a sudden evacuation order Tuesday afternoon as a grass fire whipped up by strong winds raced toward homes.

RCMP said in a release the evacuation of the Sharp Hill community was ordered as flames approached "at a high rate of speed."

Rocky View County said all residents have been safely evacuated to Genesis Place and that one home has been destroyed by the fire. 

"A massive response from Rocky View County and Airdrie fire services now has most of the fire under control, although the flare up of hot spots is still a concern" read a statement from the county. 

"At this time, there is no time frame for residents to return to their homes."

The grassfire was also slowing traffic along Highway 2 near Airdrie as the flames approach the roadway.

Two people in the area told CBC News they saw structures burning, including homes and barns.

Images posted to social media also depict structure fires.

Three more fires have also forced evacuations in Alberta: Coleman, in the Crowsnest Pass, Gleichen, east of Calgary and Hilda, near the Saskatchewan border.

Environment Canada issued a wind warning for Airdrie, Calgary, Rocky View County and other parts of southern Alberta at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

An intense low pressure system was generating wind gusts of between 100 and 130 km/h, the agency said.