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High Level on alert as wildfire prompts mandatory evacuation for Alberta’s northernmost community

The Chuckegg Creek wildfire in northwestern Alberta. Credit: Alberta Wildfire

UPDATE: Several communities were evacuated late Monday night. For the latest information, visit this story.


OLDER: 

A mandatory evacuation order was put in place Monday morning for people in the area of Indian Cabins, Alberta’s northernmost community, following the discovery of a wildfire.

Indian Cabins is about 150 kilometres north of High Level. Residents were told at around 11 a.m. to leave immediately.

The out-of-control fire was just under 475 square kilometres in size.

Officials with Mackenzie County were asking evacuees to go to the Northwest Territories via Highway 35.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were being told to leave the area. More information on the evacuation order can be found on Mackenzie County’s Facebook page.

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READ MORE: Alberta continues to battle drought as summer begins

Monday evening, other sections of Mackenzie County was put on evacuation alert. Everyone north of Township Road 1010, west of Range Road 150, south of Peace River including the Hamlet of La Crete must be prepared to evacuate on short notice. The alert includes the Dene Tha’ First Nation’s Bushe River reserve and Beaver First Nation’s Child Lake Reserve.

Residents of High Level, who were forced to flee an encroaching wildfire last month, were also being told to gas up and be ready to leave in a hurry.

The town of High Level said on its website Monday evening that residents aren’t required to leave at the moment, but should gather documents, get food and water ready and fuel their vehicles in case a mandatory evacuation becomes necessary.

READ MORE: Alberta wildfire evacuation alerts and orders in place across the province

The new fire was burning north of the Chuckegg Creek fire, which is the province’s largest at about 2,955 square kilometres, near High Level.

“Today is going to be a challenging day on the Chuckegg Creek wildfire,” the latest update from Alberta Wildfire said Monday.

“Mother Nature wasn’t on our side last night as the winds continued to be steady throughout the night.”

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Officials said the humidity was dropping rapidly and they expected more aggressive fire behaviour.

LISTEN BELOW: Alberta wildfire information officer Travis Fairweather 

The Chuckegg Creek fire was moving north and was less than 20 kilometres from Devil Lake and 22 kilometres west of La Crete.

“With south winds shifting between (southeast and southwest), we can expect more growth today and substantial smoke,” officials said in the update.

There are two other fires in northern Alberta that are considered out of control — one near Slave Lake and another near Lac La Biche.