A mandatory evacuation order has been lifted for residents forced out earlier this week by a wildfire in Parkland County.
The evacuation order was lifted just after 11 a.m. Saturday for residents located within the area of Highway 22 and Range Road 63 and between Township roads 510 and 524.
An updated Alberta emergency alert stated the imminent danger from the wildfire to life and property in the area has diminished. However, the evacuation order could be reissued if the conditions change.
Residents in the area west of Edmonton were forced out of their homes early Friday morning after the wildfire sparked west of Tomahawk, Alta., on Thursday afternoon.
By Friday afternoon, the wildfire had grown to be about 2,220 hectares in size.
In an update at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Parkland County said the fire was not moving and remained at 2,220 hectares in size.
“The fire is not yet being held, but with the help of some much-needed overnight precipitation, fire crews continue to work to contain this wildfire,” the update stated.
“We continue to ask everyone to avoid the area for their safety and the safety of our fire crews as they fight this wildfire.”
In a 5 p.m. update Saturday, officials said fire crews made excellent progress on the fireguard around the wildfire. There had been no further spread on Saturday but the wildfire was not yet contained.
A State of Local Emergency remained in effect. Area roads near the wildfire have been limited to local traffic only and people are asked to continue to avoid the area as it remains the scene of an active, large wildfire.
Rain was in the forecast for central Alberta on Saturday, with upwards of 10 mm expected in some regions.
As of Sunday, the status of the wildfire remained unchanged. The county said there was heavy smoke in the area, west of Tomahawk and into Seba Beach and Wabamun Lake.
“If smoke is a problem in your area, stay inside as much as possible and keep all windows and doors closed,” a tweet at 9:30 a.m. said.
A reception centre was set up at the Tomahawk and District Sports Arena (51122 AB-759, Tomahawk, Alta. T0E 2H0.) All evacuees were asked to register online or by phone: 780-203-3258.
More than 60 firefighters continue to battle the blaze, including crews from Parkland, Stony Plain, Brazeau County, Yellowhead County, High Level, Clearwater County and Alberta Forestry, as well as private fire contractors.
Tomahawk is a hamlet located about 95 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.