Alberta wildfire, evacuation alert update
Wildfires throughout Alberta continued to force evacuations and cause alerts on Thursday.
There were 72 active wildfires in Alberta, including 44 new ones, according to an update from the province at 6 p.m.
Roughly 3,726 people were ordered to evacuate.
States of emergency were declared in Lac St. Anne County, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Rainbow Lake and Brazeau County, and a band council resolution was passed by the Little Red River Cree Nation.
An evacuation alert in Yellowhead County has been expanded to include the communities of Wildwood, Evansburg, Lobstick and Hansonville.
The first alert came at 2:39 p.m. on Thursday, for the areas of Township Road 544 to Township Road 553, east to Highway 33 and west to Range Road 92 west of Wildwood.
Residents must evacuate immediately, and should be prepared to be gone at least three days.
Take all important documents, medication, and pets with you, the order stated.
At 8:22 p.m. Thursday, Alberta Emergency Management issued another alert for the area of the Pembina River west to Range Road 101, north to Township Road 550 and south to Township Road 520.
“Anyone in the area needs to evacuate. The evacuation route is west on Highway 16,” the alert read.
A reception centre is available at the Edson Leisure Centre. Bus transportation is being provided from Tipple Park Museum and the Wildwood Community Hall.
More information is available by phoning 1-833-334-4639 or on the Yellowhead County website.
A wildfire near the hamlet of Entwistle forced the evacuation of residents in that area for the second week in a row.
At 7:21 p.m. Thursday, Alberta Emergency Management ordered everyone in the area west of Range Road 65 to the Pembina River, north of Township Road 530 to Highway 16, including all residents of Entwistle, to evacuate immediately.
“Everyone must evacuate to the reception centre at the Wabamun Jubilee Hall, at 5132 53 Avenue in Wabamun. If you need help evacuating, call 780-203-3258,” it said.
Entwistle and Evansburg were forced to flee two wildfires on Saturday. That evacuation order was lifted on Tuesday, to the delight of residents.
LITTLE RED RIVER
In the far north, one of Little Red River Cree Nation’s three communities is being threatened by a wildfire.
An out-of-control fire south of the Peace River had grown to more than 4,300 hectares as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard.
The evacuation effort began Wednesday and ramped up overnight as the blaze doubled in size.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, the nation’s chief directed all residents and essential workers who were still in Fox Lake to leave immediately as the fire was encroaching on its barge landing, the community’s main access point.
Officials set up a secondary incident command centre west of Fox Lake, at Little Red River. They planned to help about 100 remaining people cross the river there.
“The winds are coming this way, so we probably have only less than a couple hours before we have to evacuate from this area. This is our last-ditch effort to get as many people across,” Chief Conroy Sewepagaham said in a video posted to the nation’s Facebook page, ash falling on his face.
COLD LAKE FIRST NATION
A home was destroyed by wildfire in a First Nation community in eastern Alberta Thursday prompting an evacuation there.
Some residents of the Cold Lake First Nation, south of that city, were told to leave in an alert issued at 6:22 p.m.
“There is a wildfire on the southeast side of the Nation, between Highway 897 and Range Road 24. The fire is moving west toward Range Road 24,” it said.
“Everyone south of Township Road 614 and up to Range Road 24 in Cold Lake First Nation must evacuate now.”
People were asked to go to the Dene Hotel and Conference Centre on Highway 28 and Range Road 423.
Anyone who needs help evacuating can call 780-545-3332 and more information was provided on the Nation’s website and app.
LAC STE ANNE COUNTY
An evacuation alert was issued at 4:06 p.m. for some residents east of Sangudo, which is about 110 kilometres west of Edmonton.
A wildfire was burning near Range Road 60 and Township Road 560, forcing the evacuation of everyone in the impacted area.
“Evacuate now if you are between Range Road 60, west to Range Road 63 and from Township Road 544A to Highway 43,” the Alberta Emergency Management alert said.
“Everyone must evacuate to the reception centre at the Sangudo Arena at 5235 54 Avenue. If you need help evacuating, call the County Office at 780-785-3411.”
Just before 7 p.m. Thursday, the evacuation order was expanded to everyone between Range Road 60, west to Range Road 64 and from Township Road 544A to Highway 43.
DRAYTON VALLEY AREA
An out-of-control wildfire southeast of Drayton Valley continued to burn Thursday night.
Anyone in the area north of Township Road 482 and south of Highway 39, and west of Range Road 64 and east of the North Saskatchewan River was told to evacuate immediately in an updated alert issued at 6:28 p.m.
“Bring important documents, medication, food, water and supplies for at least 3 days. Take pets with you,” it said.
“A reception center is being established for evacuated residents at Drayton Valley Omniplex located at 5737 45 Ave.”
One structure, an outbuilding, was destroyed by the fire and Brazeau County issued a state of local emergency Thursday.
At 7:16 p.m. Thursday, all residents within 2km of the evacuation zone were told to prepare to evacuate with 30 minutes notice.
An evacuation order was issued at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday for everyone living from Range Road 41 east to Range Road 35, and from Township Road 494 north to Township Road 495.
The area is just northeast of the village of Warburg in Leduc County.
A wildfire is burning on Range Road 40 north of Township Road 494, and southeast winds are pushing the fire toward a group of homes in the area, the alert says.
Everyone in the area must evacuate immediately.
Take important documents, medication, and pets, and prepare to be away from home for at least three days.
Once you have evacuated, call 780-955-4546 to register with the county.
Anyone who needs help evacuating should call 780-955-4546.
Crews have contained a wildfire in Leduc Country near Range Road 24 between Township Road 474 and 475, but the area remains on alert.
An evacuation order for the area was lifted at 9 a.m. on Thursday, and residents have been notified that they can return to their homes.
Range Road 24 has been reopened, and no road closures are in place.
Crews will remain on scene to monitor fire breaks.
BEAVER LAKE CREE NATION
A wildfire alert was issued for Beaver Lake Cree Nation overnight.
At 1:30 a.m., the Alberta Emergency Management Agency notified residents they needed to prepare to evacuate because of a wildfire southeast of the community.
“Residents on Elinor Lake Road, Victoria Trail, Small Face Drive and Lameman Drive have begun evacuating. If conditions do not improve, an evacuation of everyone in Beaver Lake might be required,” the alert read.
They were told to gather important documents and medication, plus food, water and other supplies for three days.
An evacuation registration centre is being set up at the Multi-Purpose Hall across from the Band Office.
This is a developing story. It will be updated as information becomes available.