Entire town forced to evacuate: Many of the 7,000 residents “trapped“
Mayoral Quote of the Day: “It’s incredible how quickly things can change.”
Slave Lake City Hall burns. Photo Credit: Staff at 92.7 Lake FM, the local radio station which was also consumed by fire.
Some 84 fires are burning as of Sunday morning, including 29 burning out of control: Alberta govt.
Local Emergency Notices:
- May 15 at 9:30 PM - Full evacuation of Town of Slave Lake ordered
- 12:45pm Evacuation for entire Southshore has been ordered. All residents must register at Northern Lakes College.
The Road Out of Slave Lake
“The winds just keep fanning it hotter and hotter and hotter, and the wind’s not slowing down. I’m scared for the people that are in Slave Lake right now,” said Mandy Jeworski, 27, who fled her home west of Slave Lake Sunday afternoon, taking this photo on her way out. (Credit: Mandy Jeworski/via Globe and Mail).
“Meanwhile, flames blocked all but one road, trapping many residents in the town and leaving officials to urge people to simply flee to wide open parking lots or beaches, and hope the fire doesn’t reach them. Traffic along the one highway was slow, as residents navigated through thick smoke amid waning daylight Sunday evening.” Said a report.
“I tell you the situation there is critical. It’s very critical. We’re doing everything we can,” said Mel Knight, Alberta’s Minister of Sustainable Resource Development (!), who’s also responsible for forest fire response.
“Fire has breached the town of Slave Lake boundary along the southern portion. Please move towards large green areas, beaches or large parking lots like Walmart, Canadian Tire, or the Sawridge Mall parking lot,” a notice posted on Sunday evening said.
The fire conditions are expected to deteriorate Monday, as higher temperatures, sunny skies and wind gusts of up to 70 km/h is forecast, the report said.
“The challenge right now is we’re expecting increased winds and the temperature is expected to increase,” said Karina Pillay-Kinnee, the mayor of Slave Lake. “It’s incredible how quickly things can change.”
Alberta Govt Notices:
Status of major fires at 2 p.m. Sunday:
- Town of Slave Lake and MD of Lesser Slave River 124 Two separate wildfires are out of control and burning approximately 2,000 hectares. Both the Town of Slave Lake and the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River have declared States of Emergency. Sunday afternoon, an evacuation order for south shore communities east of – and including – Canyon Creek was issued by the Municipal District (780-849-4888; please refer to http://www.md124.cafor road closure information). Evacuees are encouraged to register at Northern Lakes College in the Town of Slave Lake.
- Loon River First Nation
A State of Emergency is in effect for the community, located 7 kilometres from the town of Red Earth Creek. A 16,000-hectare fire is out of control and has closed Highway 88 through the community. An evacuation alert is in effect and the reception centre is established at St. Isidore Community Hall. As well, clean-up operations at Plains Midstream Canada’s Rainbow pipeline release site have been suspended due to the fire.
- Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
A 16,000-plus hectare wildfire is out of control in the Richardson backcountry area and burning across the Athabasca River. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated and RCMP are conducting evacuations of the area.
- Clearwater County
Five fires totalling about 200 hectares are burning north of Rocky Mountain House. Crimson Lake Provincial Park and a privately owned campground in the Rocky Mountain House area were evacuated Saturday due to a wildfire approximately two kilometres away.
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