Waterton fire grows to 86,000 acres

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The Kenow Fire has nearly tripled in size this week as high winds stoked the blaze that is ripping through Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta.

According to a Parks Canada press release on Wednesday afternoon, the Kenow Fire now covers an area of approximately 86,000 acres. It was estimated at about 28,000 acres on Monday.

Due to high winds and dry fuels, the fire moved north at a high rate of speed along the Akamina parkway, through grasslands along Waterton Park’s Entrance Road and moved outside of the park boundaries.

The visitor center burned Tuesday, but according to the park most of the townsite, including the Prince of Wales hotel, remained intact as of Tuesday evening.

The entire park remains closed and an evacuation order is in effect.

Fire crews have removed vegetation in a burnout to help protect the Waterton townsite. Containment lines were established in the northeast portions of the park with fire retardant and fire guards.

The Castle Branch wildfire is also burning in Waterton on the west side of Sage Mountain. This fire remains at about 1,200 acres.

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