High Level — Northwestern Alberta has been rocked by a flurry of wildfires and fire bans. The most catastrophic of the bunch seems to be in the High Level area, where a massive out-of-control wildfire has been burned over 70 thousand hectares in a span of a week.
Residents of High Level were evacuated Monday afternoon as the fire continued to inch closer to the community. The evacuation will last a minimum of 3 days.
High Level Mayor Crystal McAteer remains in her town office where the Alberta Emergency Command Center is set up.
“Northern Alberta is the most welcoming part of the province,” McAteer said, “The community right now is safe and so far there hasn’t been any fire encroachment”
McAteer also wanted to reassure residents that their fire department was working with Slave Lake, Grande Prairie, as well as others to make sure the town is prepared to battle a fire within the community.
As for reception centers, evacuees have been encouraged to sign in or call to ensure their safety. Initial reception centers were opened in Slave Lake and High Prairie while more popped up in Peace River and La Crete.
Slave Lake Mayor, Tyler Warman, says that the community is exhausting all available resources to ensure evacuees have what they need.
“Things seem to have gone really smooth [since the evacuation] and the last group of evacuees left around 9:30pm from High Level so we seen them trickle in around 4am this morning.” Warman said, “Registered we’ve had about 700 people so far, some of those would have been people phoning in and going to other communities…we did secure approximately 200 hotel rooms and we had space set up for campers”
Power in the region was knocked out as a result of complications due to the wildfire and ATCO Power is working hard to get it up and running. They say that the earliest possible time for this to happen is Tuesday Evening.
Donations are not being accepted by the Town of High Level at the moment, but the La Crete Reception Center has put out a notice that it is seeking the donations of goods that include towels, face cloths, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dog & cat food.
Contact info for established reception centers can be found below:
Mackenzie County Reception Center: 780-928-4447 @ The La Crete Heritage Center
Peace River Reception Center: 780-624-4881 @ The Misery Mountain Ski Chalet
Slave lake Reception Center: 780-843-5651 @ The Slave Lake Legacy Center
High Prairie Reception Center: 780-507-9076 @ The High Prairie Sports Palace
Stay safe out there Peace Country
–Preston Hodgkinson, Trending 55 Newsroom