Published: Tue, May 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Extreme wildfire danger in Slave Lake, Alberta

Extreme wildfire danger in Slave Lake, Alberta

As of this morning, the Town says there is no immediate threat to High Level from the fire, and officials are continuing to work to ensure the community is safe, and that power is restored to the area.

Alberta crews fighting the blaze will get logistical and personnel support from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Earlier in the day, the town warned on its website that people should fill up their vehicles and collect important documents in case they were ordered to leave at short notice.

"We've been responding to this fire for several days now, the extreme conditions are really hard to work in and safety factors have limited our access to the fire in any real meaningful way", Alberta Wildfire incident commander Scott Elliot said in a telephone conference call with reporters shortly after the town-wide evacuation order was issued Monday.

So far some 4,000 people from High Level alone have packed up and left their homes.

Meanwhile, an out-of-control wildfire about 25 kilometres southwest of High Level that covers 25,000 hectares was expected to grow Sunday due to strong wind gusts from the southeast.

Formula One legend and former champion Niki Lauda dies at 70
Lauda underwent an emergency lung transplant a year ago , and he was hospitalised again in January with the flu for about 10 days. The crash came a week after Niki urged his fellow drivers to boycott the race, largely due to his safety concerns.

According to the town of Slave Lake, 650 High Level residents have already registered at the reception centre. Town employees said early Tuesday they have enough volunteers to fully staff the facility, and if additional help is needed, a call will be put out on social media. "As a result of the fire behavior over the last few days The Town of High Level is now issuing an Evacuation Alert for High Level and area as of May 20, 2019 at 11:00 a.m".

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

"Due to the extreme burning conditions, limited success is being had on other parts of the fire and we're anticipating no real change in the foreseeable future", Elliot said of the High Level fire.

Fire crews were in town using sprinklers to water down properties overnight.

The visual signs of the looming fire were worrying, she said. Residents were allowed to return to their homes Monday but were told to remain on alert.

The Alberta Wildfire Service says the fire started near Highway 35 on May 12 and is moving northwest.

Like this: