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Alberta Wildfire crews continue working on Devil's Head blaze

"Once a fire goes from 'out-of-control' to 'being held,' that usually means we have a better ability to put more firefighters on the ground as well." 

BIGHORN – A fairly uneventful fire season for the Bow Valley started to heat up on the Friday of the Labour Day long weekend with a wildfire to the north in the Ghost wilderness area.

The Devil's Head Wildfire, located near Black Rock Mountain in Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, was reported Friday (Sept. 4) afternoon and crews immediately responded. 

Wildfire information officer Travis Fairweather said the fire began classified as out-of-control, but as of Sunday evening to Monday morning (Sept. 6-7) it was re-classified as being held. 

"A 'being held' fire means that it is not expected to see anymore significant growth based on weather conditions and resources available," Fairweather said. 

"Once a fire goes from 'out-of-control' to 'being held,' that usually means we have a better ability to put more firefighters on the ground as well." 

As of Wednesday (Sept. 9), the fire was estimated to be 676 hectares in size, or 6.8 square kilometres. 

Firefighters are working directly on the fire with shovels and axes and identify hot spots, or places where the blaze may have burned deep into the ground. Fairtweather said hopefully after a few days, the fire can be re-classified again as under control. 

He said the size of the fire grew significantly on Saturday (Sept. 5) due to crews doing controlled aerial ignition to burn areas around the fire to prevent it from spreading to the south. 

Fairweather said crews conducted the controlled burn while the fire itself headed up Black Rock Mountain, which would naturally limit the amount of fuel available for it to burn. 

More than two dozen firefighters have been working on the wildfire, along with several helicopters and an air tanker, which was using Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park as a water source. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 



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Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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