Motorists heading to Alberta from NWT cautioned about wildfires

Image courtesy of Alberta Ministry of Environment and Parks.

A massive wildfire that has forced the evacuation of the Northern Alberta town of High Level and the nearby First Nations Community of Bushe River may be moving away from town.

No one has been reported hurt and according to published reports, officials say the winds continue to be favourable as crews battle the large wildfire burning just a few kilometres from High Level.

Nearly 5,000 people have reportedly now cleared out of High Level and Bushe River, about 750 kilometres northwest of Edmonton or about 200 kilometres south of the NWT boundary.

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

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is quoted as saying that no buildings have been damaged and the evacuation of the town yesterday went off without incident.

Meanwhile, the NWT Department of Infrastructure has Tweeted that if you are heading south into Alberta, the closest spot for fuel is at Red Earth on Highway 88 – that’s about 650 kilometres from Hay River.

Highway 35 south from High Level remains closed due to the fire.

Highway 58 to 88 is open but power has been shut down for the Mackenzie District, including Fort Vermillion.

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

Even people in the South Slave Region of the NWT have posted on social media that they will lodge evacuees if need be.

Those evacuees are expected to be out of their homes for three to five days.

(With files from Josh Campbell)

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.