It's the worst disaster to hit the Bindloss area, south of Oyen, in years.
 
A grass fire burned out of control Monday evening and forced the evacuation of 15 farms and about 40 people overnight.
 
The land is in Special Area 2 south and east of Bindloss, which is about 120 kilometres south of Oyen, close to the Saskatchewan border.
 
"We declared a state of emergency just before midnight and then after that we issued a mandatory evacuation order for a number of residents on the east side of the blaze," outlined Special Areas Board chair Jordan Christianson. "That mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, but for the time being we're still under a local state of emergency."
 
Reports say the flames began inside CFB Suffield, which is south and east of the hamlet. As of this morning they had consumed a home and the surrounding farmyard, including outbuildings and vehicles. Neighbors had to wake the elderly resident up so he could get out safely.
 
Evacuated residents were housed in Bindloss School overnight.
 
"By our count, we had 14 different departments involved," reported Christianson. "We had, I think, 20 fire engines, 10 big water tankers, seven graders, a couple fuel trucks supplying fuel to the crews and then a countless number of neighbors and residents and people within the community coming out to help battle this blaze."
 
The Special Areas have been under fire restrictions for much of the summer and an outright ban on open fires and charcoal cooking was imposed on September 5. The cause of this latest blaze isn't known.
 
"At this point we would take just about anything (Moisture) that we could get: certainly we need some different conditions out here," stated Christianson. "The extreme fire hazard is pretty widespread and we need a few days of general wet, cool conditions to try to help mitigate that."

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