Evacuation order issued for Garden River due to wildfires

Evacuation order issued for Garden River due to wildfires
Evacuation order issued for Garden River due to wildfires

The evacuation alert for residents of Garden River due to the wildfires has been upgraded to an evacuation order.

“Garden River has been issued an evacuation order as of 12:00 p.m.,” the alert reads.

The order was given because of a forest fire that raged 10 kilometers from Highway 58.

Officials say there is no immediate threat to Garden River, but the fire could block access to the freeway.

Residents have been asked to pack several days’ worth of food, water and medicine and head to the Horizon camp in John D’or Prairie, Alta.

Garden River is a Cree community located approximately 200 kilometres east of High Level in northern Alberta.

The fire, named HWF061, is part of the Semo forest fire complex, which also includes fires HWF053, HWF061, HWF081 and HWF083.

As of Thursday afternoon, the fire had reached 39,955 hectares, the largest fire in the complex.

According to Alberta Wildfire, 112 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to the Semo complex, as well as eight helicopters and 18 pieces of heavy equipment.

“Heavy equipment continues to fly to the southern edge of the fire both day and night to gain better access. Helicopters continue to fly over priority areas. Night vision helicopters have been working this fire overnight to extinguish hot spots,” Alberta Wildfire said.

“Firefighters will begin extinguishing the fire once safe zones have been reached and are accessible.”

Additional resources have been sent to the scene.

The fire was caused by a lightning strike.

The Cattail Lake Complex

The other area of ​​concern from Alberta’s wildfires is the Cattail Lake complex northeast of Fort McMurray.

MWF047 is the largest fire in the complex and was approximately 28,000 hectares in size as of Thursday afternoon.

According to Alberta Wildfire, there are approximately 225 people fighting the fire, plus 18 helicopters and 16 pieces of heavy equipment.

More resources are expected to arrive in the coming days.

“As wind conditions appear favorable for crews to continue working on the southern and western edges of the fire, we hope to make good progress on the fire today,” Alberta Wildfire said. “However, if wind conditions change, we have plans to remove crews if it becomes unsafe.”

Concerns about air quality

Both the Semo Lake and Cattail Lake complexes are raising air quality concerns in the northern part of the county.

The air quality for Fort McMurray was rated 10+ or ​​high on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Air Quality Health Index on Wednesday.

A noticeable improvement is expected towards Thursday as air quality changes from a moderate to high health risk to a low to moderate health risk.

People most affected by wildlife smoke include the elderly, pregnant women, babies and children, people who work outdoors, and people with illnesses or chronic health conditions.

It is best to limit time spent outdoors and strenuous outdoor activities, even for healthy people, during periods of high smoke.

As for air quality for the city of Edmonton, smoke from the wildfires should stay out of the region. The air quality forecast looks good for Wednesday and Thursday, and it is expected to be a low health risk.