Red Arrow
Tuesday January 10th, 2012  
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   Volume 82 - Issue 1   email:   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
"Mother Nature has been throwing us a few curve balls and we've had a very challenging early season."
- Dave Morrison  
Pass PowderKeg Manager   


Photo courtesy Frank McTighe, Fort Macleod Gazette
Several vehicles were blown over on Highway 2 north of Fort Macleod last Wednesday, January 4th, when winds reached speeds of up to 122 km/hour is some parts of southern Alberta.
High winds and dry conditions wreaked havoc across Southern Alberta last week, causing several vehicle rollovers and sparking grassfires.
Travel was not recommended south of High River last Wednesday, January 4th, after RCMP issued a travel advisory due to winds in excess of 100 km/hour.
The strong winds snapped a power line, causing sparks to ignite a tinder dry field south of Nanton.
The resulting fire spread quickly to nearby farms and burned approximately 60 square kilometres, including three homes and multiple out buildings which were destroyed.
Approximately 70 fire fighters were on hand to battle the blaze, which was extinguished in the late afternoon.
Another fire started on a ranch near Granum, approximately 10 kilometres north of Fort Macleod, as a result of the sun beating down on hay bales.
The fire quickly spread, damaging two nearby buildings and even jumping Highway 2, which was closed for several hours as a result of smoke from the fire reducing visibility.
RCMP and Volker Stevin crews closed the highway, stopping northbound traffic and rerouting southbound traffic to nearby Highway 519.
The fire prompted the MD of Willow Creek to issue a state of emergency, as well as an evacuation order for 25 nearby homes, displacing roughly 200 people to emergency centres in Claresholm and Fort Macleod.
Crews managed to get the blaze under control later that afternoon and reopened Highway 2 at 5:14 p.m.
That same day, fire bans were issued for the MD of Willow Creek, the MD of Taber and the County of Lethbridge, as well as a partial fire ban in Pincher Creek.

Top wind speeds of 122 km/hour were recorded in Claresholm and Pincher Creek, blowing several vehicles off the highway and causing damage to several structures.
A huge dirt storm near Lundbreck caused problems for motorists on Highway 3 as a result of decreased visibility.
Temperatures reached up to 15 degrees in much of the region on Wednesday, a far cry from the average temperature of between -18 and -6 degrees.
The unseasonably warm temperatures, coupled with a lack of snow leaving several areas tinder dry and hurricane force winds provided much needed fuel for the fires which spread quickly.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development issued an Extreme wildfire hazard for the Southern Rockies and Foothills regions early in the morning on Wednesday.
The public is encouraged to continue observing safe fire practices and to ensure all fires are extinguished when unattended.
Call 310-3473 (FIRE) to report a wildfire.
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