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HomeNewsExtreme conditions wreak havoc across southern Alberta on Sunday

Extreme conditions wreak havoc across southern Alberta on Sunday

Wild, crazy, scary – pick your adjective to describe Sunday’s weather and fire situation across southern Alberta. Now, it’s somewhat the calm after the storm.

Chaos began around 3:00 pm when a semi-truck flipped along Highway 2, south of Claresholm, closing that road for about an hour while it was cleaned up.

Residents of Carmangay and the MD of Willow Creek were able to go home Sunday evening following Evacuation Orders from earlier on in the afternoon as wind-whipped grass fires tore across parts of the region. RCMP said more than 5,000 hectares of land were damaged by the out-of-control blaze in that area alone. Some homes were also destroyed.

It was a difficult day for the community as the historic Grange Hotel had burnt down earlier that morning in Carmangay, only to be followed by the large grass fire.

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MORE: Historic Grange Hotel in Carmangay destroyed by fire (March 28, 2021)

The grass fire also caused damage to Highway 520 between Claresholm and Barons. However, it was just one of many that sparked Sunday, including another fire near Claresholm and another on the Blood Reserve.

At the height of the wind storm and fires, photos posted to social media showed lines of vehicles backed up on highways amid clouds of thick black smoke and dust.

Emergency crews dealt with at least three semi-rollovers and two other crashes due to the high winds which had been gusting between 110 and 140 km/h most of the afternoon.

All area highways have since re-opened and all Emergency Alerts have ended for the MD of Willow Creek and Vulcan County.

Fire officials are now assessing the damage to try and come up with causes for the various fires.

MORE: Southern Alberta hit hard by extreme weather, winds, and fire (March 28, 2021)


*** Story written with files from Sam Borsato, Pat SiedleckiTina Karst ***

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