UPDATE: For the latest information Monday, May 20, 2019 on the wildfire in northwestern Alberta, near High Level, click here.
An out-of-control wildfire continues to burn in the Notikewin area, approximately 10 kilometres northwest of the town of Manning, Alta.
Officials with Alberta Wildfire anticipate the fire behaviour to accelerate Sunday because of extremely dry conditions and strong winds.
“For the next several days, the temperature is going to be equal to or greater than the humidity levels, and the winds are going to be strong and gusty. The forest area is extremely dry,” officials with Alberta Wildfire told Global News on Sunday.
The fire is estimated to be more than 23,000 hectares in size, and wildfire danger in the Peace River Forest Area has been labelled “extreme.”
Camps and facilities along Chin Road have been evacuated, and the road is now closed.
Over 200 firefighters, five air tankers and 18 helicopters are helping in the firefight.
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“Crews, air tankers and helicopters with buckets worked all day to minimize the spread of this wildfire,” officials with Alberta Wildfire said. “Tankers worked to help steer the wildfire into pockets of aspen and keep the west flank from blowing out. Crews and heavy equipment worked on the east side of the fire, which was very active as well.”
The fire is one of several burning in the area. At least two others are out of control, and two are being held.
A portion of Highway 35 between Manning and High Level was closed Saturday because of another wildfire burning in the area.
On Sunday at around 6:30 p.m., RCMP evacuated buildings on the north and south side of Highway 16 near Marlboro, approximately 15 kilometres west of Edson, because several homes were at risk.
“The wildfire has jumped Highway 16 and is presently burning on both sides of the highway,” RCMP said in a release. “Traffic is being stopped on Highway 16, as it is impassable due to the smoke and zero visibility. Please avoid travel in this area.”
There have been 60 wildfires in the Peace River Forest Area this fire season.
The extreme wildfire danger has prompted a fire ban in the area. All open fires including campfires and open fire pits are prohibited.
Visit albertafirebans.ca for more information.