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Fire officials say a wildfire that was burning out of control north of Banff National Park earlier this month was caused by an abandoned campfire.

The fire near Black Rock Mountain burned nearly seven square kilometres of forest on the eastern slopes of the Alberta Rockies.

The area is a popular random camping spot for hunters and hikers.

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Members of the public reported the fire.

Agriculture and Forestry wildfire investigators say in a news release that they are working with the RCMP to identify people who were in the area between Aug. 30 and Sept. 4.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen said there’s no excuse for leaving a campfire unattended.

“Before you leave, ensure it’s completely extinguished: soak it, stir it and soak it again,” he said in the news release Monday. “Last year, 71 per cent of wildfires were caused by humans and were entirely preventable. We must do better.”

In April, 2019, the province of Alberta announced higher fines – between $600 and $840 – for failing to put out a campfire.

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