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Fire in Fort McMurray’s Timberlea area ‘being held’: RMWB

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said a fire burning in a tree line in the Timberlea area of Fort McMurray was being held Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Credit: Facebook: Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

A fire that broke out Tuesday in a tree line on the north side of in Fort McMurray is being held, officials said Thursday.

The fire is burning in a wooded area behind McKinlay Crescent, near Morgan Heights Park in the Timberlea neighbourhood. The fire was 2.5 hectares in size on Wednesday, according to Alberta Wildfire.

In an update just after noon Thursday, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) said the fire split into two sections. The north section moved away from residential areas and the south section moved toward a previously burnt area.

Crews have created a perimeter to protect nearby homes, according to the RMWB. Sprinkler systems are also being used to help keep the fire contained.

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The municipality said Thursday night a fire break was complete. A bulldozer was used overnight to extend the firebreak on the west side, and throughout the day on Thursday it expanded that break to strengthen the perimeter around homes.

“Fire activity is expected to be quiet overnight, but smoke will continue to be present,” the RMWB said around 9:30 p.m. “Additional resources remain on standby and are ready to respond if the situation changes.”

The next update will be provided Friday morning or if the situation changes overnight.

The fire is being held, officials said, adding “a well-established perimeter (is) in place to protect all homes in the area.” There is no evacuation order in place as of the municipality’s 10 a.m. Thursday update. That remained unchanged when an update was issued in the evening.

The municipality said there is no immediate threat to nearby homes. The fire was human-caused, according to the RMWB. There have been five human-caused wildfires in the region in the last 48 hours, the RMWB said Thursday afternoon.

“Conditions are very dry and anyone using the trails, OHVs or having a campfire is urgently reminded to do so responsibly and diligently,” the RMWB said.

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Residents can expect more smoke in the area Thursday due to wind blowing toward residential areas. Helicopter and bucket operations, as well as ground fire suppression efforts, will continue throughout the day.

Crews are asking people not to fly personal drones in the area, as they create a “very serious safety risk” to the helicopter and bucket operations.

“Please give crews room to work, follow instructions from emergency officials and stay out of the area if you do not live in the neighbourhood,” the municipality said.

Wildfire danger ‘high’ in Fort McMurray Forest Area

There are currently 33 active wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area in northeastern Alberta, and the wildfire danger is listed as high.

Of the 33 wildfires in the area, 18 are classified as being held and 15 are under control.

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Updates on the fire in the Timberlea area can be found on the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s website.

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— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News

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