The wildfire that had burned less than 10,000 hectares along the BC Alberta border on Sunday has since grown to a total size of around 42,000 hectares, as of Tuesday evening.
The Kenow wildfire – so named because it originated near Kenow Mountain – has now spread outside the Waterton Lakes National Park and into the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and Cardston County, according to a release from the Alberta government.
The wildfire is currently covering approximately 33,000 hectares, though has a total size of 42,000 hectares.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered on Monday and Tuesday for Cardston Creek and areas of the Blood Tribe in Zone 1 – approximately 500 people are now under evacuation orders to leave their homes.
There are roughly 60 firefighters and 17 fire trucks on hand in Waterton to protect the town from the fires.
Buildings outside the perimeter of the town, including the Visitor Centre, have been lost, though crews have been successful in protecting structures inside the perimeter.
Another 135 firefighters are working within the park itself, alongside 14 helicopters and nine air tankers.
Areas of Highway 5 and Highway 6 have been closed due to the fire, along with the Chief Mountain border crossing, and parts of Highways 532, 520, and 774 are only open to permit holders.
“High winds, high temperatures and low humidity continue and intense fire behaviour is anticipated,” stated the release.