EDSON, Alta. – So far, B.C. has not faced a major wildfire flare up this season, but its neighbour to the east has not been so lucky.
A number of out of control wildfires in Alberta have caused evacuations and highway closures, but there is some hope for travellers looking to find their way home along Highway 16 at the end of this long weekend.
The route has been reopened, even as flames continue to threaten homes north and south of the highway. Highway 35 remains closed.
A fire west of Edmonton is burning near the town of Edson, and several homes are at risk. According to the provincial wildfire service, six fires are currently listed as out-of-control.
RCMP in #Edson say they are issuing evacuation orders for homes on both the north and south sides of #Hwy16 near #Marlborough as a wildfire in the area grows. Traffic has been stopped and a number of homes are at risk.
— CityNews Edmonton (@CityNewsYEG) May 20, 2019
Evacuations are in effect north and south of Highway 16, and flames have already jumped the roadway.
The wildfire also crossed Highway 58 near High Level. For now the town is not in immediate danger, but authorities are recommending people living there to be vigilant and be prepared to evacuate.
Fires in the Slave Lake Forest Area, the Fort McMurray forest area and near Manning, north of Grande Prairie are out of control.
Windy and dry conditions in the north of the province have increased the risk of wildfires. A fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction are now in place for many areas of northern Alberta. Check https://t.co/TfhkWvr26L to find out more. pic.twitter.com/r8Cn0ISn3m
— Alberta Wildfire (@AlbertaWildfire) May 17, 2019
The Town of High Level posted on Facebook that although the community was not in imminent danger, its fire department, along with others, are preparing to protect Norbord, a short distance from the town.
Alberta Transportation has closed Highway 35 south of High Level due to the fire, and Alberta Emergency Alert is warning that there is a chance of an electrical disruptions.
“The High Level Forest Area has firefighters prepositioned in the area to respond to any new wildfire starts,” a news release from the province stated Sunday afternoon.
“Alberta Wildfire has heavy equipment, 55 firefighters, along with air support from helicopters and air tankers, working to contain the fire.”
The province issued a fire ban and restricted off-highway vehicle use for the area, as well as others in the province, late last week due to forecasts that called for little precipitation and strong winds.