The Porcupine Hills to Granum Grass Fire 1997

The Porcupine Hills to Granum fire burned 54,000 acres on Dec. 14, 1997, in a runaway blaze pushed by 90 km/h winds and dry conditions.

A swath of fire 32 kilometres long burned five homes, killed 250 cattle and displaced another 5,000 head, destroyed 960 km of fence and burned large amounts of hay and winter feed.

The fire caused $10 million in uninsured losses and is still considered one of the hottest grassland fires ever to occur in Canada.

Overland Flood  2014

On June 20, as the swollen Willow Creek and overland flooding rushed towards Claresholm, emergency officials prepared for the worst. When a municipal state of emergency was declared, Kelly Starling took off his fire chief hat and started working full-time as the head of the Claresholm Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) — effectively giving him more power than the mayor and town council.

Starling managed the town’s response to the emergency and was the final authority for all decisions related to the crisis.

Chief Starling asked several residents to evacuate their homes because of overland flooding as some 40 homes were succumbed to the weather. All the schools in the town were also closed. The sewer system severly  backed up and several homes were under water. An evacuation centre had been set up at the Claresholm arena for residents affected by the flooding, and rescue efforts were in full effect as some 25 paid on call firefighters responded.

The flood warning prompted Environment Canada | Public Weather Alerts for the municipality of Willow Creek as a low-pressure system brought up to 70 millimetres of rain Wednesday in the southwestern foothills before tapering off Thursday morning. The total rainfall recorded may have exceed 200 millimetres.