Information flow surrounding Kenow fire frustrates Pincher Creek residents

By Aaron Mahoney (@Mahones93 on Twitter)
September 12, 2017 - 2:59pm

PINCHER CREEK - Due to the quick spread of the Kenow fire, portions of Cardston County and the M.D. of Pincher Creek were evacuated overnight, and some of the 500 affected residents are expressing frustration about not getting up to date information.

Jenny Akitt, the owner and operator of the Twin Butte Country General Store, says the frustration is not knowing what's going on at a meeting held this morning (Sept. 12).

"We don't know where things are, or how they're being handled because we're not allowed to even be there. In the same sense, I'm happy crews are there and that they're trying to deal with the situation, but it would be nice to have some peace of mind," Akitt said, adding she's currently staying at her mother in law's house in Pincher Creek.

Akitt says information is at a stand still, and it almost seems political because they answer a question in a round circle that doesn't actually answer the question.

"I've asked our MD councillor, who can give us no answers. Several other people also have no answers, so right now it seems like social media is the best place to find some answers. I also have a cousin who's on the front line of the fire in Waterton and he's been telling us what's been going on. I believe nothing has happened in Waterton, but outside of Waterton there's some ranches and farms that have been lost," Akitt concluded.

Jenny's husband Phil, says they were evacuated around 11:30 p.m. last night.

"I thought that went fine, there were officials and everything we needed to get out. I didn't feel like we were in harms way, but I feel like my house was in harms way and I could've tried to prevent my house burning down," Akitt said.

When asked whether or not he was frustrated over the process, Akitt was blunt.

"It was quite a frustrating process, no sleep last night and up early this morning trying to drive out there. I came to this meeting where I don't feel we got the answers we need. I think our governments could do better, and our municipalities could do better relaying information to us."

A piece of good news for the Akitts is that after talking to the RCMP they know their store is still fine.

"That's half of our lives that's fine, now we need to see whether the other half is still there too," they said, referencing their home in the fire zone on Spread Eagle Road.

Another source of frustration for Phil was the update map provided by officials.

"When I left last night I knew where the fire was, and compared to the maps they provided I don't feel it's accurate. I attended the information session today in hopes of getting an accurate map of the fire. We had enough time to get out, but information earlier yesterday would've made me feel better today. I could've worked on my house, could've turn the hoses on my house. I came looking for answers, and I didn't get anything," Akitt finished.

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