Homes in community threatened by wildfire in Alberta are dangerously close together

Clay Curtis
May 21, 2019

There is some good news as winds are keeping the fire away from High Level and the town has stated that there is no immediate threat.

The alert said the fire is burning west of Highway 35 and south of Highway 58.

The town of High Level had been monitoring the progress of the fire over the last several days before the evacuation order was given on Monday afternoon.

McAteer said the evacuation is being co-ordinated in zones.

Residents in Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories have reportedly noticed smoke drifting north, and residents in High Level, Alberta have said that smoke created dark skies throughout the day.

Premier Jason Kenney said that if the evacuees are still displaced from their homes after 72 hours, the province will step in with additional supports.

So far some 4,000 people from High Level alone have packed up and left their homes.

The order for the Bushe River Reserve, located southeast of the town, was issued at 8 p.m. Monday.

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"We've been responding to this fire for several days now, the extreme conditions are really hard to work in and safety factors have limited our access to the fire in any real meaningful way", said Alberta Wildfire incident commander Scott Elliot in a conference Monday.

According to government officials, everyone was evacuated from High Level safely with the exception of emergency staff and some grocery store employees who will stay behind to help first responders.

"If there was a subtle shift in the wind direction, that would increase the likelihood of rapid fire spread towards the community", Elliot said.

The fire is one of four burning out of control in the province.

"People are of course afraid because they remember the wildfires of Fort McMurray, but we talked to a lot of the residents and reaffirmed that we were being proactive", she said.

An out-of-control wildfire is continuing to burn in the middle of Alberta in Canada forcing 5,000 residents to evacuate their homes.

Crews are using sprinklers on structures on the edge of the town closest to the fire.

On Sunday, residents of the hamlet of Marlboro - west of the Central Alberta town of Edson - were evacuated due to an approaching fire, and the Yellowhead Highway was closed to traffic.

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