Smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta moved into downtown Edmonton on Thursday, May 30, 2019.
A wildfire has prompted an eight-hour evacuation alert for a northern Alberta town that saw parts of it destroyed in a 2011 fire.The alert says Slave Lake is not in imminent danger, but residents should be prepared to evacuate on short notice.The town is the latest community to be put on evacuation alert, as several fires rage out-of-control in northern Alberta and blanket areas to the south in an acrid haze.Slave Lake is currently housing many people who were evacuated from High Level more than a week ago.The Alberta government has also issued an emergency alert for Chipewyan Lake Village, about 450 kilometres north of Edmonton.People were being asked to leave immediately because of a rapidly moving wildfire that threatens to cut off access to the area.Related
Different fires have also forced evacuations from the hamlet of Wabasca, the Bigstone Cree Nation and Northern Lights County.The Chuckegg Creek fire raging near High Level continues to grow.“(It) went on a pretty serious run yesterday where it grew 80,000 hectares in about 24 hours and travelled a little more than 22 kilometres between noon yesterday and 4 a.m. this morning,” said Derek Gagnon, a provincial information officer. “The average speed would then be around 23 metres per minute.”“We had really strong winds out of the north that combined with really dry fuels on the ground.”The fire covered 2,300 square kilometres Thursday, but crews were still managing to keep the flames out of the town.High Level Mayor Crystal McAteer, Reeve Josh Knelsen of Mackenzie County and Dene Tha’ First Nation Chief James Ahnassay issued a joint statement late Wednesday on Facebook.“We know that many of you are very anxious to hear about what is happening with the wildfire and the situation in our communities. Many of you have been out of your homes and away from your work for a long time.” they wrote.The leaders urged patience.“On Wednesday, the wildfire threatening our communities grew significantly and exhibited extreme and volatile fire behaviour. We simply don’t know for sure what this fire will do next.“The danger to High Level remains, and the danger to communities in Mackenzie County and the Dene Tha’ First Nation has increased. Four more areas were evacuated … More than 600 of our neighbours had to leave their homes.”
Aerial view of the Chuckegg Creek fire near High Level on May 27, 2019.
The goal is to get residents of High Level home by the weekend, the post said.“But with this wildfire we can’t promise anything. For other communities, we know it will be later. Please be patient with us. The situation is constantly changing and there are no firm timelines.”Gagnon said extreme fire conditions will continue until there’s a good rain in the area.“We’re hoping that we’re going to get at least cooler conditions into next week, particularly around High Level, which will help with the overall hazard,” he said. “But it’s still very dry and any sort of wind will make it very extreme danger.”People in Edmonton awoke Thursday to a thick, smoky haze that turned otherwise blue skies an eerie grey-orange.The smoke forced the Edmonton Eskimos to moved their outdoor practice today inside to the Commonwealth Field House.Environment Canada issued a special air-quality statement for the Alberta capital, warning that people might experience coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with heart and lung disease were said to be at special risk.