May 22, 2013 2:18 pm

UPDATE: Crews battling fire in Strathcona County

Wildfire in Strathcona County, May 22, 2013

Dave Carels, Global News

EDMONTON – Strathcona County emergency crews continue to battle a wildfire near Township Road 564 and Range Road 213A.

Officials say embers have been travelling up to 500 meters and lighting fires.

Crews have bulldozed fire guards around the main fire areas.

Humidity, temperature, and wind on Wednesday were making fire conditions extreme.

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“There is a phenomenon called ‘cross over’ when the humidity and temperature are actually at the same level,” said Darrell Reid, fire chief for Strathcona County. “When that is reached we call it ‘coning’, and the trees will ignite. One of the problems is obviously the fires themselves, but it also throws a lot of embers and it can create spot fires hundreds and hundreds of metres away.”

According to Strathcona County officials, the 640 acre fire is out of control, but being managed.

There is no official evacuation for the area; however, two people were helped from their home on Tuesday as a precaution.

“They were away for a few hours,” said Reid. “We were able to bring them back last night, and with the conditions today they’ve been able to stay home.”

Every resident north of Highway 15 has been reportedly informed about the situation, and are being provided with daily updates.

The county says, as of early Wednesday afternoon, no other residents were at risk.

An investigation has started to find out how the blaze started.

Strathcona County has been at an extreme risk for fire for the past few weeks.

Officials say weather conditions are a large factor in controlling the blaze.

“Certainly, that is the key fix here – a good soaking rain,” said Reid. “But, we would even just take less wind.”

A fire ban remains in effect in the area.

“This [fire] is the reason that our fire ban is in effect,” he said. “It is very important in Strathcona County that the fire ban be followed. If you do see smoke or any fire, call 911 immediately.”

“The rate that these fires grow and move at is extreme in these conditions.”

Strathcona County’s official Twitter account is providing updates.

 

Strathcona County crews battling wildfire, May 21, 2013

Global News

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