Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — Crews battling an enormous wildfire just outside the small northern Alberta town of High Level are bracing for what could be a dangerous wind shift today.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town, and has grown to just over 1,000 square kilometres.

More than 360 firefighters, including many who have come from outside Alberta, are on the fire lines and also in High Level working to protect property and infrastructure. They are supported by at least 28 helicopters as well as various types of heavy equipment.

The winds have been blowing the fire away from High Level, but the forecast is calling for a wind shift that could push the flames back towards the town. High temperatures and a lack of any rain in the forecast are also likely to increase the fire threat.

Officials have said the approximately 5,000 people who have been evacuated from the area should not expect to return until at least next week and that provincial emergency funds for their gas, food and other expenses should be available by Monday.

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