HIGH LEVEL – Hot, dry conditions and gusty winds are leading to what fire watchers call a red-flag warning across northern Alberta’s forest as more evacuations have been declared.
WATCH LIVE: Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen, Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu and officials will provide an update on the Alberta wildfire situation
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Thursday morning for the Hamlet of Wabasca and the Bigstone Cree Nation in the Slave Lake forest area.
A wildfire has prompted an eight-hour evacuation alert for a northern Alberta town that saw parts of it destroyed in a 2011 fire.
The alert says Slave Lake is not in imminent danger, but residents should be prepared to evacuate on short notice.
Residents in Slave Lake on an evacuation ALERT, meaning some evacuees may need to evacuate a second town.
— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) May 30, 2019
The town is the latest community to be put on evacuation alert, as several fires rage out-of-control in northern Alberta and blanket areas to the south in an acrid haze.
Slave Lake is currently housing many people who were evacuated from High Level more than a week ago.
Further north, the Chuckegg Creek fire, the largest in the province, is still about three kilometres southwest of High Level, where crews have created a firebreak to protect the community.
The latest update shows that the fire has grown about 50% in the last day to 2300 square km.
Uh… the High Level wildfire grew by over 50% in the past day from 150,000 hectares to 230,000 hectares.
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) May 30, 2019
Derek Gagnon, a provincial information officer, says a new fire around Steen River, which is also in the High Level forest area, grew 170 square km in its first day.
About 5,000 people were ordered to leave High Level and surrounding communities more than a week ago.
Those evacuees have started to receive provincial emergency funds, but have been told not to expect to return home before this weekend.