Kenow Fire: a forecast for extreme fire behaviour
Kenow Wildfire was managed using unified command, which means that incident commanders from Parks Canada, The Government of Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the adjacent Municipal District of Pincher Creek and Cardston County jointly oversaw the operational response.
Multiple agencies responded to the call for assistance including municipal firefighters from around southern Alberta and wildland firefighters from across Canada.
As the fire burned closer to the park, fire management personnel used accepted strategies and tactics in an attempt to hold the fire on the continental divide in British Columbia. This included strategically placed burnout operations in South Kootenay Pass and Akamina Valley that involved using intentionally lit fire to remove sections of vegetation to create guard lines that slowed the fire’s progress for three days.
Actions like these delayed the progression of the fire in the days leading up to September 11, providing more time for safe and orderly evacuation of the Waterton townsite.
On September 8, 2017, the incident management team received a fire weather advisory that forecasted three days of winds out of the southwest from 25 to 40 km/hr gusting to 60, with relative humidity as low as 15% and maximum temperatures of 31oC.
This gallery gives a further glimpse into the efforts taken to protect structures in the park and the extreme fire behaviour on the evening of September 11, 2017.