Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta

22 Mai, 2019, 08:51 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Chuckegg Creek wildfire near High Level

Evacuees from Mackenzie County south and southeast of the town of High Level and south of the Bushe River Reserve are being asked to register at the La Crete Heritage Centre on Township Rd.

Highway 58 west of High Level was also closed with a detour in place via Zama Road. These wildfires are estimated to be 75 and 1,000 hectares in size.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney released a video via Twitter with updates regarding how the government is taking action.

Map of the Chuckegg Creek HWF042 wildfire southwest of High Level, Alberta at 5:18 a.m. CDT May 20, 2019.

No homes have been damaged, and no injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, but electricity service is out in the area and cell phone service has been disrupted.

One stunning photo managed to capture the scale of the fire and the hard conditions being faced by firefighters as smoke appeared to rise vertically before being blown across by higher-level winds. Heavy-duty sprinkler systems were brought in to wet down buildings.

The High Level mill has an annual production capacity of 860 million square feet and has been ramping up toward full production since resuming operations in late 2013.

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Officials with Alberta Wildfire believe the fire will only get worse because of the extremely dry conditions and strong winds over the coming days.

A 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., destroyed one-tenth of the city and some 88,000 people were forced from their homes. The mayor says this evacuation order is quite significant for the town with no mass evacuations being issued in her 42-year memory living in the town.

At the time the evacuations were ordered, the flames were only about three kilometres from High Level.

"It looks very scary on the horizon, but in the Town of High Level the skies are blue and sunny and windy". They are staying in Grimshaw with another hockey family. "Within your homes please ensure all fuel and gas appliances are shut off, and hot water tanks are turned down if able to", reads the alert from wildfire information officers.

"The people that live in [houses] are the ones that make the memories, and they are out", he said in an interview.

High Level is about 740 km northwest of Edmonton and has a population of around 3,000. So far, 18 people have registered there, according to the band.

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