Alberta RCMP warn wildfire has closed major highway and prompted evacuations

EDSON, Alta. — A wildfire in northern Alberta forced a major highway west of Edmonton to close and nearby homeowners to flee, while another blaze prompted officials to warn that electricity may fail in one town.

RCMP said Sunday evening that they were conducting evacuations on the north and south sides of Highway 16 near Marlboro, approximately 15 kilometres west of Edson, because several home were at risk.

Police said flames had jumped the roadway, and that it was impassable due to smoke.

Meanwhile, an out-of-control wildfire about 25 kilometres southwest of High Level that covers 25,000 hectares was expected to grow Sunday due to strong wind gusts from the southeast.

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.

Wildfires also burned out-of-control Sunday in the Slave Lake Forest Area, the Fort McMurray Forest Area, and in the Notikewin area near the community of Manning.

The province said there are no evacuation orders from those fires.

However, the Town of High Level advised its residents to be prepared if the situation changes.




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