CALGARY – Penn West Petroleum Ltd. has agreed to sell its properties in the Greater Mitsue area of central Alberta for $192.5 million cash.

Money from the sale will be used to reduce the Calgary-based company’s debt.

It’s the first major sale of non-core assets for Penn West since it announced two weeks ago that it was cutting its workforce by 400 full-time employees and contractors, suspending its dividend and cutting compensation for its directors.

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It also announced on Sept. 1 that it would sell a number of non-core assets, including the Mitsue properties, to reduce overhead costs. It said at the time that the Mitsue properties produced the equivalent of 4,500 barrels per day.

Penn West didn’t disclose the buyer but a second company announced about the same time that it has acquired properties in the same area that produce 3,300 barrels per day of crude oil and liquids.

Cardinal Energy Ltd said it would pay $129 million for its acquisition of light oil producing properties in the Mitsue area. It said CIBC and RBC would lead a syndicate of underwriters to provide $100 million towards funding the purchase, with the remainder coming from its credit agreements.

Penn West has said it’s aiming to keep its capital spending within cash flow generated from operations, despite the dramatic decline in oil and gas prices since the end of 2014.

It says the sale of the Mitsue properties will raise total proceeds from asset sales since June to $605 million.

Rock-bottom interest rates combined with sustained exuberance among buyers and an assist from a steady flow of foreign cash, according to experts, propelled the Vancouver and Toronto housing markets to new heights in August.

The country’s real estate association said Tuesday benchmark prices in those centres jumped 12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, posting “by far” the biggest price increases among housing markets across the country.

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Aided by low rates, a shortage of detached homes in those regions compared to the number of interested buyers is driving the rapid price inflation, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.

“Prices continue to rise in Ontario and British Columbia, where listings are either in short supply or heading in that direction,” Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, said.

Subdued elsewhere

Price growth was more subdued in other markets, notably in areas hit by lower commodity prices. In Calgary, which continues to feel the effects of sharply lower oil, benchmark home prices were flat – the first time index prices have notched zero growth in four years.

Other markets outside the Vancouver and Toronto areas are also responding in kind to a mild slowdown in the economy, which has registered back-to-back quarters of contraction, or a technical recession.

MORE: ‘Best. Recession. Ever.’

The health of the country’s housing market has become a talking point in the federal election, the leaders from the three major parties promising reforms if elected.

MORE: Complete 2015 federal election coverage 

But outside of the country’s two biggest and priciest regions, sales data shows a balanced market, experts say.

Excluding the Vancouver and Toronto markets, the jump in national average prices would be cut in half, CREA said. “The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto.

Click here to view data »

Bubble behaviour?

“Overall, while most markets are responding logically to softening domestic economic conditions, Vancouver and Toronto continue to exhibit bubble behaviour,” David Madani, economist at Capital Economics said in a research note this week.

Several media reports in recent months have suggested a steady and rising tide of foreign cash is propping up price growth in big markets. Madani said that is only part of the story, while much of the demand remains from local buyers.

“While foreign investors are no doubt playing some role, we think this explanation is overblown,” the economist said. “Low interest rates and self-fulfilling expectations of higher prices continue to inflate actual prices independently of fundamentals,” he said.

“Over the longer-term, we still believe that these housing markets will experience major price reversals.”

WATCH: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suggests ‘potential tools’ the federal government has to step in and help regulate runaway housing prices.


TORONTO – The information commissioner is taking the Prime Minister’s Office to court, accusing it of refusing to release documents about four senators embroiled in scandal.

filed an access-to-information request to the Privy Council Office, the central bureaucracy serving the prime minister and cabinet, in August of 2013 asking for any records created since March relating to senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau or Pamela Wallin.

The PCO identified 28 pages of responsive records, but withheld 27 of those pages, releasing just two emails in which its staff discussed similar access-to-information requests.



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PCO claimed every single word on every single one of those 27 pages might jeopardize solicitor-client privilege, or reveal personal information, or third-party information, or details on secret deliberations.

went to the federal information commissioner, who found the complaint well-founded and recommended the prime minister release “a significant amount” of additional information.

But the Prime Minister’s Office withheld the “vast majority” of the records and the information commissioner is now asking Federal Court to order the prime minister to disclose any records that don’t warrant being withheld under certain sections of the Access to Information Act.

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

The Prime Minister’s Office “erred in fact and in law” in relying on the aforementioned sections of the act to withhold the records, the information commissioner said in the court application.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper deferred comment to the PCO, but a spokesperson there was not immediately available to respond on Monday evening.

Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy were suspended over their expense claims while Harb resigned.

Duffy, Brazeau and Harb have been charged with fraud and breach of trust. Duffy pleaded not guilty to 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery at his trial, which is set to resume in November.

Brazeau’s trial is scheduled to begin March 29, 2016. He has already pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Brazeau is also facing a separate set of charges – assault and sexual assault – arising from an alleged incident two years ago in the western Quebec city of Gatineau and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

That trial resumes Tuesday when he is expected to testify in his own defence.

Wallin has been under lengthy RCMP investigation but has not been charged.


PITTSBURGH —A man who served 34 years in prison for the killing of a 15-year-old girl before new DNA evidence was discovered will not be retried, a prosecutor said Monday in announcing that all charges would be dropped.

Lewis Fogle, 63, was released from prison last month after a judge vacated his murder conviction. But Fogle was merely released on bond until Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty agreed to dismiss all charges against him in the rape and murder of Deann Katherine Long.

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The judge’s decision stemmed from a joint motion by the New York City-based Innocence Project and Dougherty, who agreed the DNA evidence raised enough doubt to jeopardize Fogle’s conviction.

“I feel that he was involved, but the question was if we were ever going to have the evidence to prove that,” Dougherty said Monday.

“As I said before, there’s a difference between innocence and being unable to prosecute.”

Fogle was arrested in 1981 along with three other men, but he was the only one to stand trial. He steadfastly maintains his innocence.

“I want the people to know that I did not commit the crime, and a lot of people out there know I did not commit the crime,” Fogle told The Associated Press after Monday’s decision. “I’m hoping very strongly in the near future that the truth will come out with the names of the guilty parties, and I hope if any are still alive that they will be brought to justice.”

WATCH: Injured, orphaned bear cub found hiding out in pizza shop

Karen Thompson, one of Fogle’s attorneys, said 30 states and the District of Columbia have statutes that compensate wrongly convicted people. Pennsylvania does not so Fogle will have to sue if he wants reparations, she said.

Fogle was 30 with a pregnant wife and infant son when he was convicted in 1982.

Lewis Fogle, 63, flanked by his attorneys.

“I’m sure in light of his 34 years’ incarceration and the time that’s taken away from his ability to pursue a career” that Fogle may sue, Thompson said. “But today he’s just focused on his freedom.”

Dougherty said investigators have re-interviewed several witnesses since the judge freed Fogle and concluded, “There’s no way to resurrect the case.”

The DNA, taken from semen found on the victim using technology not available decades ago, excluded Fogle. The samples are being tested against other suspects, and the investigation will continue, Dougherty said.

“This is now considered an open homicide,” Dougherty said.

WATCH: Topless female protesters interrupt Muslim conference in Paris

A stranger found Deann’s body on July 31, 1976, near Cherry Tree, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The previous day, Deann’s younger sister saw a man telling her their brother had been in a car crash, and the sister later saw her in the man’s car.

That man checked himself into a psychiatric facility and was questioned about the killing five times but was never charged. But after he was hypnotized to aid investigators, he said he was present when Fogle, his brother and two other men raped, then shot the girl.

Fogle was tried and convicted after three jailhouse informants testified he confessed to them. Charges against his brother, imprisoned for a child sex conviction last year, were dismissed under speedy trial rules. Prosecutors eventually cited a lack of evidence in dropping charges against the other two, one of whom has since died.

©2015The Associated Press

EDMONTON — On Wednesday, the man accused of murdering two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

Below is a timeline of events with details from Alberta RCMP regarding the death of 27-year-old Terry Blanchette, the abduction and death of Hailey, and the death of Meketech.

NOTE: All times are in Mountain Time.

Sept. 14, 2015

11:12 a.m. — Crowsnest Pass RCMP receive a call reporting a sudden death at a home in Blairmore, Alta.

11:12 a.m. – 2:13 p.m. — Several events happen over the course of three hours.

  • Officers secure scene and begin investigation. RCMP Major Crimes Unit based in Calgary is called in.
  • Police learn that a child lived at the home and that she may be missing.
  • Officers search the area, including a canvass of the neighbourhood to make sure the child isn’t with a neighbour.
  • Police try to get contact information for the child’s mother.
  • Investigators gather information that indicates the little girl was abducted from the home at 3:30 a.m. Monday.

    WATCH: Amanada Blanchette, sister of murdered father Terry Blanchette, and Rebecca Harrington, who is missing 2-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother and close friend of Terry Blanchette, speak about the case.

    RAW: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother speaks to Global News


    RAW: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother speaks to Global News


    RAW: Amanda Blanchette, Sister of Terry Blanchette speaks

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    • Outpouring of grief over death of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

    • Derek Saretzky charged in murders of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Terry Blanchette

    • Remains of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette found; Amber Alert dropped

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    2:14 p.m. – An Amber Alert is issued for Alberta. The child’s mother contacts RCMP.

    READ MORE: Amber Alert: What we know so far about Terry Blanchette and daughter Hailey 

    3:15 p.m. – The Amber Alert is extended to British Columbia, Montana, and Saskatchewan.

    5:30 p.m. – During a news conference RCMP confirm they’re investigating Terry Blanchette’s death as a homicide.

    Sept. 15, 2015

    The investigation continues.

    1 p.m. — During a news conference, RCMP reveal a 22-year-old man was arrested in Blairmore. They said the man, who had not been charged and whose name would not be released, is being questioned in relation to the Blanchette homicide and the disappearance of Hailey.

    READ MORE: Man arrested, Amber Alert continues for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette 

    The RCMP continues to investigate and the Amber Alert remains in effect. Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette is described as a Caucasian female child, small build, light brown, straight hair with bangs, and brown eyes. She was abducted by an unknown person.

    The suspect vehicle, fled the residence west, at a high rate of speed. The vehicle is described as a newer model white van, with a large rear antenna, with a flag attached. RCMP said the suspect should not be approached.

    Around 9 p.m. — RCMP victims services confirm at a public vigil in Blairmore the remains of Hailey had been found. Sources tell Global News the girl’s remains were found close to the community of Blairmore, where she went missing.

    WATCH: RCMP say the remains of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette were found Tuesday afternoon.

    Sept. 16, 2015

    Around 9:45 a.m. — Derek Saretzky, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of  Hailey and her father Terry. RCMP believe Saretzky planned the murders. Saretzky is scheduled to appear in Lethbridge Provincial Court on Sept. 23.

    READ MORE: What we know about Derek Saretzky

    11:15 a.m. – Hailey’s mother, 20-year-old Cheyenne Dunbar, describes her daughter as “smart” and “beautiful” and said Blanchette was an “awesome father.” Dunbar said she was friends with Saretzky years ago but hadn’t spoken to him in three years.

    READ MORE: ‘She was my baby’: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s mother Cheyenne breaks down 

    Sept. 23, 2015

    Global News is told by sources that Saretzky is rushed to hospital in medical distress and placed in a medically-induced coma after allegedly attempting to take his own life while in a shower at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky taken to hospital after suicide attempt: sources

    Sept. 25, 2015

    A source tells Global News Saretzky has come out of the coma.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky out of medically-induced coma after suicide attempt: source

    Sept. 30, 2015

    Saretzky is ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment in order to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial for the murder’s of Hailey and Blanchette.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment

    Oct. 28, 2015

    Saretzky is ordered to undergo another 30-day psychiatric assessment after his doctor makes the request to the judge.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky’s psychiatric assessment extended 30 days

    Nov. 25, 2015

    A Lethbridge court determines Derek Saretzky is mentally fit to stand trial on the two first-degree murder charges.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky mentally fit to stand trial; next court date in February

    Feb. 26, 2016

    Saretzky makes a brief court appearance in a Lethbridge court, where a judge set aside June 20 to 30 for a preliminary hearing.

    READ MORE: Preliminary hearing set for accused Blairmore double-murder suspect Derek Saretzky

    April 20, 2016

    Derek Saretzky is charged with the first degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

    Meketech was found dead in her home in the southern Alberta community of Coleman on Sept. 9, 2015.

    Global News confirmed Meketech lived next door to Saretsky’s grandparents.

    READ MORE: Blairmore double-murder suspect Derek Saretzky charged with murder of southern Alberta woman

    May 8, 2017

    Trial proceedings for accused triple murderer Derek Saretzky began on Monday, May 8, 2017 in Lethbridge.

    The case will begin with pre-trial applications that are expected to take several weeks. The trial proper will get underway at the end of the month with jury selection scheduled for May 25 and 26.

    READ MORE: Trial proceedings to begin for accused Blairmore triple murderer Derek Saretzky

    The trial by judge and jury is anticipated to begin on May 29 and run until June 30.

    Watch below: Timeline of Derek Saretzky case as of May 8, 2017


  • WINNIPEG — Winnipeg police have seized and are processing what the Drag the Red group believe to be human teeth.

    READ MORE: Drag the Red finds what it believes are human teeth by Red River

    “We seized what appears to be teeth and I’m not going to comment on whether or not they are human teeth,” Constable Jason Michalyshen said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We are still investigating. They have been seized, they will be processed by our forensic identification section.”

    WATCH: Winnipeg police update on teeth found, handed over by Drag the Red

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    Working off a tip, organizer Kyle Kematch came across the teeth Monday afternoon.

    “I came across the first tooth, took measurements and sent them in,” said Kematch. “While we were waiting I continued searching and we found 3 more.”

    Kematch found the teeth along the shores of the Red River near the Seine, close to Whittier Park.

    Drag the Red started searching the river and its banks by boat and on foot after the body of Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in August 2014.

    Volunteers hope to find clues that might lead to the discovery of other missing or murdered indigenous women.

    The group has found bones in the past but they were determined to be animal.

    “I handed in hair, handed in a gun,” said Kematch. “We pulled up animal bones before.”

    Each time, volunteers wait to hear if what they have found could be evidence in helping solve a loved one’s case.

    “They are items that have been deemed an item of concern and there is a process that needs to take place and sometimes it can be time consuming,” said Constable Jason Michalyshen with the Winnipeg Police Service.

    “Finding stuff like this just shows myself that we are getting somewhere. It’s not all for nothing,” said Kematch.

    His sister, Amber went missing back in 2010 and hasn’t been heard from since.

    “It goes through your mind that its a possibility that it could be Amber,” he said.

    READ MORE: Bones found on bank of Red River

    While volunteers do believe their discoveries get taken seriously, they are frustrated with officers slow response times. On Monday night, it took officers more than 5 hours to respond to their call about the teeth. But officers said it was a busy night, with only 27 cars to respond to more than 55 calls in the queue.

    Repairs have kept some of the volunteers boats off the river lately, but they hope to be able to get back out on the river Wednesday morning.


    LETHBRIDGE — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair focused on mental health services for young Canadians as he announced another plan to improve public health care and reverse the damage done by years of Liberal and conservatives on Tuesday.

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    “Every child in Canada should have access to high quality, effective mental health treatment when they need it and that’s not been the case under Stephen Harper’s lost decade,” said Mulcair at the Sik-Ooh- Kotok friendship centre in Lethbridge. “Evidence shows that addressing mental health in children reduces the incidence of serious mental health issues in adulthood, which reduces costs and strain on provincial healthcare systems.”

    Mulcair said nearly 1.5 million Canadians under the age of 24 who are affected by mental illness do not receive access to appropriate support, treatment or care

    Kristine Cassie with the YWCA in Lethbridge is thrilled with the announcement, and says it’s finally time the government made mental health a top priority.

    “We see it at the YWCA, a number of people impacted by mental health, and when it’s not dealt with we see the effects years later.”

    “When we look at our women, residents we are dealing with almost 70 per cent of them being diagnosed with mental health issues,” added Cassie.

    To support provinces and territories in the delivery of quality mental health services, Mulcair said an NDP government would establish a $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth aimed at wait-time reduction and improved care.

    The Mental Health Innovation Fund would include:

    • A special emphasis on high-risk populations in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as well as Canadians in rural and remote communities, and youth transitioning from foster care.
    • $10 million per year for research and enhanced healthcare collaboration across the country;
    • $15 million per year for healthcare providers and community mental health associations to implement best practices for wait-time reductions for better care.

    “Our improvements to mental health services will also be supported through our investments to help build 200 health clinics across Canada as part of our comprehensive plan for healthcare,” said Mulcair. “The NDP will improve mental health care services and balance the budget, by asking Canada’s biggest corporations to pay a fair share. Justin Trudeau won’t do that.”

    Better mental health services are part of Mulcair’s plan to usher in the next era of quality public health care for all Canadians. He will release additional details of his health care plan in the days ahead and provide a full costing prior to Thursday’s debate.

    ©2015shaw media

    VANCOUVER – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has announced plans to provide tax relief for single and widowed seniors.

    At a campaign stop Tuesday in North Vancouver, Harper said a $2,000 single seniors tax credit would help nearly 1.6 million seniors who have pension income.

    Harper said when combined with the existing $2,000 pension income tax credit, it would double the tax relief available to single seniors beginning in January 2017.

    WATCH: Stephen Harper says that since the global financial crisis his government has created 1.3 million net new jobs and says it’s the best record among the worlds major economies.

    He said seniors have saved and worked their entire lives and they know best how to make financial decisions about their retirement.

    Under the policy, a single senior would received tax relief of up to $600 a year, the Conservatives said.

    It would be phased in over four years – initially costing $23 million and up to $397 million when fully implemented.

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    JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in part blamed the construction giant Saudi Binladin Group for the collapse of a crane at Mecca last week that killed at least 111 people and injured over 390 ahead of the hajj.

    The crash came just days before millions arrive in the kingdom for the pilgrimage, which is required at least once in the life of every able-bodied Muslim.

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    Friday’s collapse came amid high winds and a rainstorm, but a royal decree from King Salman said the Binladin Group should not have left the crane’s arm up when it was not in use.

    An Arabic version of the decree, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, said the Binladin Group was partly to blame for the collapse. The news agency’s English service did not report that detail, but did say leaders of the company have been banned from travelling abroad.

    The Binladin Group has not released any statements about the crane collapse and its representatives have not been made available for comment. The royal decree also blamed the group for not using up-to-date safety measures and failing to co-ordinate with meteorlogical officials.

    WATCH ABOVE: At least 107 people are dead and hundreds other injured after a crane fell on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Jennifer Tryon has the story.

    Dozens of cranes surround Mecca’s Grand Mosque, part of the massive construction effort headed by the Binladin Group. The Binladin family has been close to Saudi Arabia’s ruling family for decades and runs major building projects. Al-Qaida’s late leader Osama bin Laden was a renegade son disowned by the family in the 1990s.

    Salman also ordered 1 million riyals ($267,000) be paid to the relatives of those killed, and the same amount to those permanently injured. Others injured will receive half that amount.

    The Health Ministry said Sunday that 394 people were treated after the collapse, and 158 remain hospitalized.


    Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, will officially be available for download Wednesday for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users. And although the update won’t look very different from iOS 8, Apple has added quite a few changes to how it works.

    For example, iPhone users will get a new caller ID function that will try to predict numbers that aren’t saved in your contacts using information from emails. iPad users, on the other hand, can take advantage of new multitasking features.

    Apple has been allowing the public to test iOS 9 in beta since July – but Wednesday’s release will be the real deal.

    But there are a few things you should keep in mind before updating your device:

    Check if your device is compatible

    Generally, if your device is running iOS 8 you are able to upgrade to iOS 9. To check the version of iOS your device is currently running, open the “Settings” app, then tap on “General,” then “About” and look at the number on the Version line.

    Or, you can just refer to this handy guide Apple put together:

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    Back up your data

    Backing up your device is always a good idea before running any sort of software update – you never know what might happen during the update process.

    To make sure all of your pictures, videos and data are safe, do a back up to iCloud or your computer. Apple offers instructions on backing up devices here.

    Make sure your device has enough room for the update

    Last year, some iPhone users ran into a big problem when trying to upgrade to iOS 8 – they simply didn’t have enough room on their device.

    iOS 8 required at least 5.7GB of free space in order to be installed on most iPhone and iPad models. Previous iOS updates have only required about 1GB of free space. Users with 8GB or 16GB devices had problems as the update took up a large chunk of their devices’ storage.

    Someone even filed a class action lawsuit against Apple for the issue.

    READ MORE: Apple sued for making iOS 8 update too big

    Users shouldn’t run into the same problem with iOS 9 – this update isn’t nearly as substantial as iOS 8 and shouldn’t require that much space. However, a 1GB update can still take up a lot of space on a smaller capacity phone.

    Try backing up some of your pictures and deleting them from your device to make room.

    How to update

    Once the update is available, users will be notified on their devices. You can either download the update directly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod (make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi), or plug you device into a computer with iTunes to start the process.

    On your device, tap “Settings,” then “General,” then “Software Update” to download and install the update.

    Be prepared for bugs

    While some users may be eager to upgrade right away, it’s important to note that the first version of iOS is often buggy and users may run into a few flaws or hiccups. Users with older devices may also notice their devices slow down when using the newest OS.


    Amber Heard gave her mom some advice on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival Monday night and it wasn’t exactly a nice kind of advice.

    The star’s mom was standing beside reporters waiting for her daughter when she was asked who she was, “I’m her mom,” she told Kiss 92.5’s Maurie Sherman with a big smile on her face.

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    Before she could say anything else, in came the actress with some advice for her friendly mom, “never make eye contact,” the star said loud enough for everyone around her to hear.

    The whole incident was of course caught on camera, which comes as no surprise really because it was a busy red carpet event.

    MORE FROM ET CANADA: The Best Bite-Sized Red Carpet Moments at TIFF

    You’d think Heard would have turned down the volume a bit.

    WATCH: Amber Heard gave her mom some red carpet advice – “never make eye contact” – and it was all caught on camera!

    ©2015Entertainment Tonight Canada

    California has been battling record drought conditions for the past few years, making it extremely vulnerable to fire.

    Now, some of the worst fires are spreading across the state.

    An apartment complex lies in ruins, burned by the Valley Fire on Sept. 14, 2015 in Middletown, California.

    David McNew/Getty Images

    WATCH: Escaping Anderson Springs fire
    WARNING: Some language may offend some viewers

    The National Interagency Fire Center reported that residents in The Valley and Butte areas are still unable to return to their homes after fires quickly spread in the regions. More than 750 homes have been destroyed.

    Napa Strike Team firefighters Mike Holmes and Dan Stith cover their eyes from the smoke during a controlled burn on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Adams, Calif.

    Beth Schlanker/The Press Democrat via AP

    A pair of burned cars sit outside the remains of several homes destroyed by fire along Highway 175, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, near Middletown, Calif.

    AP Photo/Eric Risberg

    And things aren’t expected to improve: Authorities are forecasting above-normal fire potential across the mountains of southern California from September through to December.

    A firefighter stands near a wildfire in Middletown, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

    AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

    A wildfire burns along a ridge near Sheep Ranch, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. Two of California’s fastest-burning wildfires in decades overtook several Northern California towns, destroying homes and sending residents fleeing. (AP Photo/Rich

    AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

    Deanna Hingst, right, embraces her mother Shirley Leuzinger as they stand at the family’s destroyed home Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Middletown, Calif.

    AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

    The National Interagency Fire Center has reported that eight fires are burning over an area of 381,430 acres as of Sept. 15. One fire alone, in the Rough region, is burning over 139,133 acres.

    Firefighters monitor flames while battling the Butte fire near San Andreas, California on September 12, 2015.

    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    A firefighter douses flames from a backfire while crews continue battling the Butte fire near San Andreas, California on September 12, 2015.

    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    Meanwhile fires also continue to rage across large parts of six other states, with Washington being the worst hit so far this year with 912,510 acres burned.

    Follow @NebulousNikki

    HangZhou Night Net


    Employees at a Colorado pizza restaurant were surprised to discover an unexpected customer in the store’s back room Monday afternoon.

    But after the kind of day she had, you can’t really blame her for wanting some comfort food.

    Experts at Colorado Parks and Wildlife believe the bear had been orphaned or abandoned by its mother. In addition, the cub had a broken paw, which authorities believe may have been caused by an automobile accident.

    Story continues below

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    After being sighted several times Monday morning in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the cub eventually made its way through the propped-open door of Louie’s Pizza, where it caused quite a commotion amongst staff and customers.

    “We asked [employees] what was up and they said there was a bear in there and it was eating all the icing,” customer Andy Shinholt told KOAA News in Colorado. “He was soft and he had icing all over him. He was eating all the icing.”

    READ MORE: Family confronts bear cubs terrorizing their car; discover mother bear inside

    According to employees, after helping herself to all the icing she could handle, the cub did what many of us do after a big meal: she took a nap.

    The staff at Louie’s Pizza called police and wildlife officers, who tranquilized the bear so it could be safely removed from the restaurant.

    In addition to its injured paw, the bear was found to be underweight, an even more significant problem this time of year as bears try to fatten up in advance of hibernation season.

    WATCH: Injured bear cub removed from back of Colorado pizza shop

    Wildlife officers say the cub will be sent to a rehabilitation facility to treat its injured paw and help stabilize its weight before being released back into the wild.

    As for the icing, well, let’s just say the staff at Louie’s is likely more than happy to have the bear owe them one.

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