Alberta Wildfires Reach Unprecedented Levels, Evacuating Several Communities

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Alberta is witnessing an unprecedented wildfire season. As of Tuesday, the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard reported 409 wildfires this year, 82 of which are active and 24 remaining out of control. 

Photo courtesy of the Government of Alberta

As per a report, the situation has led to the declaration of a provincial state of emergency and the evacuation of several communities, including Drayton Valley, parts of Yellowhead County, Fox Creek, East Prairie Metis Settlement, Fox Lake, and Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation.

The wildfires have devastated communities, with 27 homes lost in East Prairie Metis Settlement and 25 destroyed in Shining Bank and south of Wildwood and Evansburg. The Jasper Fire Department has sent its Structural Protection Unit and four members to assist with the wildfires in both Yellowhead and Parkland Counties, with teams from around the province also deployed to support the efforts. Over 392,000 hectares of land have been consumed by the flames, a significant increase from the previous five-year average of nearly 542 hectares.

In Jasper National Park, one tree was struck by lightning at Wapiti Campground on Saturday, and Parks Canada’s firefighting team quickly extinguished it. The park is always under a fire restriction, and the fire danger rating is moderate. Wildfire smoke passed through the valley on Saturday, May 6, but the rain helped dissipate it before the weekend’s end.

Jasper’s reception center has registered over 600 evacuees since the wildfires began. Some evacuees from Edson, who were allowed to return home on Monday, spent their weekends in Jasper, where Parks Canada provided free access and stays at Whistlers Campground. A joint team from the Municipality of Jasper and Jasper National Park held daily briefings for the evacuees at the Jasper Activity Centre.

Many evacuees appreciated the support and hospitality provided by local residents. An elderly couple, who wished to remain anonymous, shared their gratitude for the community’s support during the crisis. “Those people have been amazingly wonderful,” the man said. “The volunteers here are above and beyond,” the woman added.

The Government of Alberta has offered emergency payments to residents displaced by wildfires. People can call 310-4455 or visit for wildfire-related information.

The Edson Forest Area currently has a high danger rating, with a fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction in effect for all Forest Protection Areas in the province.

Campground owners and operators in Canada are feeling the impact of the unprecedented wildfire season, with many facing cancellations and reduced bookings as Albertans prioritize safety. 

There are some steps that owners and operators can take to mitigate the impact of wildfires. This includes closely monitoring fire advisories and evacuation orders, communicating with guests about potential risks and evacuation procedures, and having a clear plan in place for emergency situations.

Additionally, campground owners and operators can work with local authorities and support efforts to control and contain wildfires, which will ultimately help to protect their businesses and the communities they serve.

For more information, visit the Government of Alberta

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