Growing Wildfire Prompts Evacuation of High Level, Alta

Larry Hoffman
May 24, 2019

More than 4,000 people living in northern Alberta have been ordered to leave their homes because of a unsafe, out-of-control wildfire that is fuelled by dry conditions, hot weather and high winds.

Almost 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nations with flames licking at the southern edge of the community, which is about 750 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Officials with Alberta Wildfire believe the fire will only get worse because of the extremely dry conditions and strong winds over the coming days.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny said the fire is rated at the highest danger level.

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

The site also says there's no evacuation order so far but people should be prepared in case the fire worsens and there is a need to leave the area.

The fire danger remains high to extreme across most of the northern quarter of B.C., and Wildfire Service Information Officer Kyla Fraser says 10 new fires were reported in northeastern B.C. over the long weekend, including seven on Monday.

The alert said the fire is burning west of Highway 35 and south of Highway 58.

The community of Bushe River was also forced to evacuate, as ordered by Chief and Council of the Dene Tha First Nation.

Fire officials say the winds continue to be favourable as crews battle a large wildfire burning a few kilometres from a northwestern Alberta town.

"We do have crews that are actively sprinkling residences along the perimeter that's closest to the fire, we do have crews going out and doing those protection measures", Grant said in the conference call.

Satellite photo showing housing density in High Level, Alberta, which is threatened by the Chuckegg Creek fire. However, this year's fires have burned down about 134,730 hectares, about 24 per cent more than the five-year average of roughly 108,800 hectares, according to data the Alberta government released Wednesday.

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