Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

HIGH LEVEL — Fire officials say winds continue to be favourable as crews battle a large wildfire burning a few kilometres from a northern Alberta town.

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

Winds are expected to be out of the southeast for the next several days, pushing the fire away from homes and other buildings.

“The fire is actually burning on the southwest side of High Level headed northwest,” Bruce Mayer, assistant deputy minister of Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry Department, said Tuesday.

“The forecast for the next few days is the strong gusty winds will be from the southeast to east and northeast, which are all favourable.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the fire is about five kilometres from the town. Official reports said flames were within three kilometres.

Kenney said no buildings have been damaged and the evacuation of the town on Monday went off without incident.

“I’m pleased to say it was a safe, orderly evacuation thanks to the co-operation of residents and first responders.”

Evacuee reception centres have been set up in Slave Lake and High Prairie.

Officials in Slave Lake said about 700 people have so far registered at its reception centre.

“Steady flow of evacuees all night,” Mayor Tyler Warman said Tuesday morning. “People are very calm, very patient.”

Warman said hotel rooms had been booked Monday for those who needed them, but they were running out of rooms later Tuesday.

“We are working with our counterparts in High Prairie right now to see if they can take some overflow,” he said at an afternoon news conference.

Warman, who was a town councillor and firefighter during a 2011 wildfire that destroyed parts of Slave Lake, said he’s happy that the community is able to help its neighbours.

“We gained a ton of experience in 2011,” he said. “We’ve done a ton of extensive training on how to assist other communities.

“Thankfully we’re able to put all that training and all that energy and all those ideas and things we learned to good use.”

Officials were also arranging for pets to be housed in Slave Lake during the evacuation.

Just Posted

Manslaughter trial hears recording of accused praying for forgiveness

CALGARY — A trial for a man charged in the death of… Continue reading

UN high commissioner urges redress as Canada responds to MMIWG inquiry

OTTAWA — Canada’s response to the conclusions of the inquiry into missing… Continue reading

Prevention key focus of dementia strategy released by federal government

OTTAWA — The cornerstone philosophy behind the federal government’s long-awaited strategy for… Continue reading

Groups launch challenge of Quebec’s secularism bill one day after it becomes law

Less than 24 hours after it became law, groups representing Canadian Muslims… Continue reading

Poll suggests majority of Canadians favour limiting immigration levels

OTTAWA — New polling numbers suggest a majority of Canadians believe the… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Manslaughter trial hears recording of accused praying for forgiveness

CALGARY — A trial for a man charged in the death of… Continue reading

UN high commissioner urges redress as Canada responds to MMIWG inquiry

OTTAWA — Canada’s response to the conclusions of the inquiry into missing… Continue reading

Prevention key focus of dementia strategy released by federal government

OTTAWA — The cornerstone philosophy behind the federal government’s long-awaited strategy for… Continue reading

Groups launch challenge of Quebec’s secularism bill one day after it becomes law

Less than 24 hours after it became law, groups representing Canadian Muslims… Continue reading

Poll suggests majority of Canadians favour limiting immigration levels

OTTAWA — New polling numbers suggest a majority of Canadians believe the… Continue reading

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors’ play-by-play announcer is winning widespread praise for… Continue reading

Massive crowds, security concerns prove to be issues at Raptors parade

TORONTO — A shooting that sparked a stampede at a massive rally… Continue reading

Toronto mayor gives Raptors star Kawhi Leonard key to city

Toronto Mayor John Tory tried to woo Kawhi Leonard by presenting him… Continue reading

Most Read