Wildfire not moving and evacuated residents between Evansburg and Wildwood allowed to return home
Residents of an area between Evansberg and Wildwood evacuated because of a wildfire were told by Yellowhead County they could return home at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The 181-hectare wildfire continued to burn out of control but was not moving Wednesday in the Edson forest area nine kilometres west of Evansburg, about 100 kilometres west of Edmonton.
“The wildfire is not moving at this time,” said Alberta Wildfire information officer Colby Lachance in a Wednesday afternoon update.
Thirty-two firefighters were engaged in suppression and containment efforts Wednesday afternoon, aided by six air tankers and four helicopters.
The blaze crossed the Lobstick River Tuesday evening and is currently burning north of Highway 16 and west of Highway 22.
There is some fire activity in the interior of the area but the majority of the fire is smouldering on the outskirts, she said.
Heavy equipment operators worked through the night and more heavy equipment operators were on standby Wednesday night.
Alberta Wildfire said it has not determined a cause.
Alberta Wildfire spokeswoman Josee St-Onge said around 2 p.m. Wednesday that the fire was holding steady thanks to gentle winds from the northwest.
“This morning the fire activity was low, and there was low smoke in the area, which made for good visibility for crews,” she said. “But we are expecting fire activity to pick up this afternoon as temperatures rise.”
Residents along Highway 16 between Evansburg and Wildwood east of Highway 22 to Highway 16A, including at the Lobstick Resort, were ordered to evacuate Tuesday evening. An evacuation centre was set up at the Evansburg Arena. Yellowhead County is overseeing the evacuation effort.
The fire was rated at 143 hectares Tuesday evening and was assessed at 181 hectares Wednesday.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean it grew in size during the night, it’s just that this morning we were able to do another assessment and that is the number that was determined to be more factual,” St-Onge said.
St-Onge said the fire did not cross Highway 16, which remains open in both directions. Motorists are asked to follow directions from local authorities or call 511 for the latest update on road closures. Visibility in the area may be reduced in the area due to smoke.