Homes being evacuated in central Alberta after wildfire jumps highway

Elias Hubbard
May 21, 2019

"Early indication is the fire didn't spread closer to High Level overnight as the wind was fairly calm", she told CTV News. The neighbouring Dene Tha community of Bushe River, and about 40 families living to the south of the town, were evacuated earlier in the day.

The town of High Level had been monitoring the progress of the fire over the last several days before the evacuation order was given on Monday afternoon.

The wildfire danger in much of northern Alberta was rated as extreme on Sunday, with the risk rated as high to very high in the central-west part of the province. Windy, dry conditions sparked fires near Slave Lake, Edson and Peace River as well.

In an update, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the wildfire is about five kilometres away from High Level.

As meteorologists monitor weather patterns in the area to help firefighters battle the inferno, Wildfire Alberta Incident Commander Scott Elliot says it might be some time before crews get the upper hand.

For general public inquires High Level residents can contact the Town of High Level Municipal Office at 780-926-2201. It had consumed about 69,000 hectares as of Monday afternoon.

Crews are using sprinklers on structures on the edge of the town closest to the fire.

It is no small task to evacuate one of Alberta's northern-most communities, almost 750 kilometres north of Edmonton.

Checkpoints were in place to prevent non-residents from entering the evacuation area.

"There's no relief in sight from these extreme burning conditions", said Elliot, who added the good news is that the forecast seems stable enough for them to predict where the fire will move next.

One stunning photo managed to capture the scale of the fire and the hard conditions being faced by firefighters as smoke appeared to rise vertically before being blown across by higher-level winds.

The province said there are no evacuation orders from those fires. As residents leave, dozens of firefighters are working to protect the town.

"A number of fire departments will be arriving to assist with the protection preparations".

Smoke could be seen near Highway 16 on Sunday evening.

RCMP have evacuated several homes near Marlboro, Alta., about 15 kilometres west of Edson, due to a wildfire.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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