Kananaskis wildfire triggers local state of emergency

Officials declared a state of emergency Monday morning in the Municipal District of Foothills as a 60-hectare wildfire continues to rage out of control southwest of Bragg Creek. An air quality advisory was also issued.

Voluntary evacuation remains in place for the McLean Creek region, air quality advisory issue

Emergency services posted this photo of a fire south of McLean Creek, Alta., on Sunday afternoon. (Redwood Meadows Emergency Services/Facebook)

Officials declared a state of local emergency Monday morning in the Municipal District of Foothills as a 60-hectare wildfire continues to rage out of control southwest of Bragg Creek.

The province issued an emergency alert for the M.D. on Sunday afternoon and notified residents that a voluntary evacuation was in place for areas west of Highway 762, between Highway 22 and 178th Avenue West.

On Monday afternoon, an air quality advisory was issued for communities east of the blaze.

Suzanne Oel, the area Councillor for the M.D. of Foothills, says local fire crews are being helped by several other jurisdictions to battle the fire.

The out-of-control fire is located south of Bragg Creek, Alta. (Alberta Wildfire)

"Our fire department is on scene this morning as are the others. We have a number of different departments that are on, and a number that are backing up our teams if necessary, and again you heard about that cold front coming," she said.

"So we're waiting on that to see how the stage will be set for how the fire may react, because if the winds do pick up, there's a possibility of that continuing to spread to the northeast."

People are being asked to avoid Highway 762, Highway 549 west of Millarville and Highway 66 west of Bragg Creek and to be prepared to evacuate. Range road 54A was closed south of Elbow River.

The blaze is centred near McLean Creek, about 16 kilometres southwest of Bragg Creek.

It was reported earlier as covering 100 hectares, but that estimate was downgraded Monday afternoon to 60 ha. after helicopter crews got a better assessment of its size.

Roads were closed near Fisher Creek as crews responded to a wildfire near McLean Creek Sunday. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Campers are being advised to avoid the McLean Creek region, but no homes were thought to be in danger as of Sunday late afternoon.

Provincial wildfire Information Officer Matthew Anderson says the forecast for Monday isn't much help.

"It's another hot and dry day. There is some relief in the forecast as was noted for later in the week; however, for now we'll have to deal with the conditions that we have," he said.

Fire crews from Alberta Forestry and the M.D. are using five helicopters and heavy equipment to try to control the fire. 

Officials say the evacuation area may be expanded if the fire's behaviour changes. 

Air quality advisory issued 

Monday afternoon, Alberta Health Services issued an air quality advisory for the Municipal District of Foothills, Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows, the Tsuut'ina reserve and west Calgary.

People who experience adverse reactions to the smoky air can call Health Link 24 hours a day, toll-free, at 811 to speak to a registered nurse.

5 out-of-control wildfires burning

There are five out-of-control wildfires burning in the province, most in northern Alberta, and much of the province is under a fire restriction or fire advisory.

An out-of-control wildfire is defined as a blaze that's still burning and expected to grow larger.

A list of current fires and fire bans is available on the province's website

A 27-person fire crew flew to Alberta from Nova Scotia Sunday to help ensure none of the forest fires get too big to handle, as part of the Canadian Mutual Aid Resource Sharing agreement. 

Firefighters from Redwood Meadows and Rocky View wait on standby Sunday night to see if they'll be called to aid in Alberta Wildfire's response to the McLean Creek blaze. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

With files from Anis Heydari, The Canadian Press