Important northern highway choked off by smoke from Alberta wildfire
EDMONTON — A busy and vital highway that connects southern and northern Canada has been closed because of an out-of-control wildfire in Alberta’s very dry northern region.
The one-square-kilometre blaze forced police and fire authorities Sunday night to shut down the Mackenzie Highway, about 900 kilometres north of Edmonton.
Crystal Burrows, acting wildfire spokeswoman for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, said thick smoke initially threatened driver safety and the flames eventually jumped the road.
“We asked for the highway to be closed just to protect the public, and to make it safe for the firefighters in the area,” Burrows said.
RCMP said traffic in both directions was affected by the closure and there is no word on when the highway would reopen.
Another out-of-control fire about 200 kilometres south — and which also covers about one kilometre — led to an air-quality advisory for the tiny community of La Crete.
Burrows said the blaze was about 15 kilometres to the southeast of the hamlet.