NORDEGG — An evacuation order has been issued to two small Alberta communities due to wildfires.
Emergency alerts have been issued for Nordegg and Lodgepole because two separate fires are burning within a few kilometres of each community.
The fire near Nordegg, which is 200 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, has been burning for a number of days and residents had been on a one-hour evacuation notice since Thursday.
Duncan MacDonnell with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development said crews had the fire contained, but he said officials were poised to issue an evacuation order if the blaze had broken through any one of those containment points.
MacDonnell said the fire near Lodgepole, which is about 100 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, is new.
It’s unclear exactly how many people are affected. Lodgepole’s website lists its population as 200, while provincial wildfire information officer Richard Horne said between 40 and 250 people were affected in Nordegg.
An employee in the Brazeau County office said most of the people in Lodgepole left the community earlier on Sunday. Highway 620 into Lodgepole is now closed, she said, and she didn’t have any information about anyone who might have remained.
Horne said about 250 hectares had already burned in the fire near Lodgepole and winds are pushing the blaze towards the community. He said 50 firefighters, helicopters and tankers were already on the scene and that additional resources were on the way.
Alberta issued a fire weather advisory for the province earlier Sunday, saying that high winds and dry temperatures made the likelihood of uncontrolled wildfires high.
Residents of Nordegg are being told to go to Rocky Mountain House about 100 kilometres east of the community.
Lodgepole residents are being told to go to Drayton Valley, which is about 50 kilometres away.