Wildfires already raging in Alberta

Friday, 24 May, 2019

On Sunday, the blaze was about 25 kilometres away and officials estimated it at about 25,000 hectares.

The wildfire had closed some routes out of town, but there are alternatives, so evacuees were directed to emergency reception centres in Slave Lake and High Prairie, both more than 400 kilometres south of High Level.

Wind is blowing the Chuckegg Creek fire away from High Level, but its mayor begged residents to stay out of the town.

The school teacher's vehicle was gassed up, her electronic devices charged and her bags packed by the time her phone blared Monday with an emergency alert that High Level was being evacuated.

Fire officials have rated the fire as a Level 6, the top of the wildfire intensity scale.

"The fire is actually burning on the southwest side of High Level headed northwest", said Bruce Mayer, the assistant deputy minister of Alberta's Agriculture and Forestry Department.

The B.C. government is deploying hundreds of firefighters to neighbouring Alberta, where crews are already grappling with several out-of-control wildfires.

No homes have been damaged, and no injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, but electricity service is out in the area and cell phone service has been disrupted.

People who were ordered to leave their rural homes in the area were allowed to return to gather supplies, medications, and other important belongings on Monday, but were told they may need to leave again if the fire situation changes.

Almost 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in northern Alberta, Canada, to escape a monstrous blaze that has reached almost 230,000 acres, officials in the province said.

"People are of course afraid because they remember the wildfires of Fort McMurray, but we talked to a lot of the residents and reaffirmed that we were being proactive", she said.

"We can not see the fire from town and we feel very safe here".

Fraser said the danger rating map for Alberta shows the entire northern half of the province in an Extreme Fire Danger Rating. "Unfortunately, the dry conditions in northern Alberta are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with the fire danger possibly increasing this week".