hinton wildfire 2018 canada
© David Robson
A wildfire about 15 kilometres southeast of Hinton, Alta., is burning out of control.
Air tankers, helicopters used in fight against fire that has grown to 1,250 hectares

A wildfire burning out of control near Hinton, Alta., has more than tripled in size in less than a day, fire officials said Thursday.

The fire, about 15 kilometres southeast of the town of Hinton, now covers 1250 hectares, up from the 900 hectares reported earlier Thursday, and the 350 hectares reported Wednesday evening, said wildfire officials.

"This morning there's a bit of an inversion which makes it difficult to get a more recent size assessment, so it could be slightly larger than that," said wildfire information officer Travis Fairweather

An inversion is when a lot of smoke at the head of the fire creates difficult flying conditions for those assessing the fire, he explained.


Crews worked through night

Smoky conditions also make it difficult to use aircraft to fight the fire, Fairweather said.

Air tankers have been dropping retardant on the flames and helicopters have been dropping buckets of water, he said.

Twenty-five firefighters are using heavy equipment to try to contain the wildfire.

"Our crews worked through the night and they were able to build over eight kilometres of guard around the fire using bulldozers on the north end and some south as well," Fairweather said.

A news release on Thursday said that air tankers, dippers and firefighters will be supported by heavy equipment to try to get the fire under control. If there's any movement on the fire, it's expected to head either east or west depending on the wind, Fairweather said. The fire is not expected to move toward any communities.

To ensure crews and equipment have room to work, people are being asked to avoid travelling on Robb Road between Hinton and the hamlet of Robb unless absolutely necessary, wildfire officials said.

All camping along Robb Road is banned, and the McLeod River Campground has been closed. Fire danger in the area is very high, due to high winds and a lack of rain.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.