A large forest fire is raging near Whiteswan Lake, southeast of Canal Flats.
The 150-hectare Whitetail Brook fire was sparked by lightning during last week’s storm, but wasn’t detected until Sunday afternoon, July 27.
It quickly grew in size, and is now being fought by 40 firefighters from the Southeast Fire Centre, as well as three water tenders, three bulldozers, one excavator, three medium helicopters with buckets, and one light helicopter for administrative use.
While no homes or structures are currently threatened, it is the largest fire currently on the radar in the Southeast fire zone.
“So far, access to the hot springs (Lussier Hot Springs) and the park (Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park) is not closed off, but there is security blocking access to some back roads and they might close more if the need arises,” said Fanny Bernard, fire information officer with the Southeast Fire Centre.
This week’s hot temperatures and dry conditions are affecting the fire’s behaviour, Bernard went on, so officials are asking the public to be very careful not to cause any further fires.
“We need our crews to be able to respond to any naturally occurring wildfires, so we really rely on the public to be extra vigilant with their campfires, and also to report any suspected wildfire or unattended campfire,” said Bernard.
She reminded people that campfires are permitted, but can be no larger than a half-metre by a half-metre.
“You are required to have at least eight litres of water on hand or a hand tool such as a shovel to make sure the campfire is completely out before you leave the area,” said Bernard. “Completely out means the ashes should be cool to the touch.”
You can report wildfires and unattended campfires at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks.