Devil’s Head wildfire west of Calgary caused by abandoned campfire

A wildfire that is burning out of control west of Calgary was caused by an abandoned campfire, according to Alberta wildfire officials.

The Devil’s Head wildfire, located about 20 kilometres west of Benchlands, Alta., was approximately 3,624 hectares in size as of Wednesday afternoon. Benchlands is located about 45 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

Melissa Story with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry said the size of the fire hasn’t changed since Tuesday and weather conditions have worked in favour of firefighters for the past couple of days.

Cooler temperatures and reduced wind speeds have also helped with wildfire suppression efforts, according to Story.

There were 23 wildland firefighters, eight helicopters, an airtanker and a heavy equipment group fighting the fire on Wednesday.

Read more: Alberta Emergency Alert issued for MD of Bighorn over wildfire concerns

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Last year, about 71 per cent of wildfires were human caused and completely preventable, Story said.

An Alberta Emergency Information Alert remained in place on Wednesday after being issued early Tuesday morning. The alert warned that the fire was travelling in a southeast direction with a potential threat to people in the area.

Everyone in the area of Richard’s Road, Highway 40, Summer Village of Waiparous, Hamlet of Benchlands, Richard’s and Pears Road, Ghost Country Place and West Jamieson Road is asked to prepare to evacuate on short notice.

A local state of emergency also remained in place for the Municipal District of Bighorn.

Updated information on the wildfire status can be found on the MD of Bighorn’s website or on the Alberta Emergency Alert website.

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