Calgary fire crews in Waterton Lakes National Park are exhausted, but safe, after protecting the historic Prince of Wales hotel from the growing Kenow wildfire, according to the CFD chief.
Steve Dongworth said Tuesday that another crew of 17 members was deployed in the morning to relieve the group which protected the hotel.
“The shift that’s coming back this afternoon has worked pretty much 24 hours straight,” he said. “They’re safe, they fulfilled their mission.”
As of Dongworth speaking to media, the hotel remained unscathed thanks to Calgary firefighters, along with crews from Cardston.
Although the hotel is mostly surrounded by grassland instead of woodland, firefighters had to battle growing embers.
Crews put water and foam on the hotel ahead of the fire getting closer and extinguished embers as soon as they landed in the vicinity.
While Dongworth couldn’t give specific details, he did say it was an active scene.
“I’ve seen some pictures and to me it looked like one, watching the fire coming down the valley at some pace would’ve been pretty intimidating, to say the least,” he said. “When the fire did arrive, it was very close, certainly would’ve been lots of heat, lots of smoke and lots of embers.”
As for how long the mission could last, Dongworth said the original idea of a little over a week is still the likely timeline, although weather changes could have an impact.
At this point, there have been no requests for additional Calgary resources other than the fire trucks crews are already supplying, although Dongworth said they are prepared if asked.
The chief also credited his firefighters who want to go.
“It’s huge, we’ve had subscription many times over what we will ever need,” he said. “Calgarians should be proud of that.”