Update 2: Northwest Alberta wildfire

Wildfire near High Level in Northwest Alberta
Wildfire near High Level in Northwest Alberta

EDMONTON – WILDFIRE UPDATE – A serious fire continues to threaten High Level in northwest Alberta.

Hot, dry conditions continue. States of local emergency remain in effect, with residents under a mandatory evacuation order.

Current situation

  • The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire is burning approximately five kilometres south of the Town of High Level within Mackenzie County.
  • This out-of-control wildfire is almost 92,000 hectares.
  • Alberta Wildfire, Alberta Emergency Management Agency and local authorities are cooperating in the response.
  • Alberta Wildfire has about 76 firefighters and staff on the ground, supported by nine helicopters, air tankers, 10 structural protection units and heavy machinery.
  • Winds are forecast from the east and northeast, driving the fire away from High Level and neighbouring communities.
  • Continuing dry and windy conditions in most of Alberta have increased the danger of forest fires. Fire bans and off-highway vehicle restrictions are now in place for central and northern areas of the province.
  • Approximately 5,000 people have been evacuated from High Level and the neighbouring communities.
  • Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the Town of High Level and parts of Mackenzie County south of High Level.
  • Dene Tha’ First Nation declared an evacuation order for Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh.
  • Detailed information is available on emergency.alberta.ca, which is updated frequently.
  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

Reception centres

  • Reception centres are open at:
    • Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue)
    • High Prairie Sports Palace (5409 49 Street)
    • Grande Prairie Regional College (10726 106 Avenue)
    • Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill (10408 89 Street)
    • La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete)
    • Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
    • Hay River Dene Wellness Centre
  • Residents are asked to please check in with a reception centre, even if they are staying with family or friends, or finding alternate accommodations.

Highway closures

  • Highway 35 remains closed between five kilometres and 30 kilometres south of High Level. Highway 697 and the La Crete Ferry is identified as a detour. La Crete Ferry is operational with wait times of approximately one hour.
  • Highway 58 from High Level to approximately 70 kilometres from the junction with Range Road 45A remains closed.

Information for affected residents

  • Evacuated residents should retain all their receipts for food purchases, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer for possible reimbursement.
  • Albertans who cannot recall their insurance provider, can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information to understand your fire insurance coverage is online at www.ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.
  • High Level Court is closed. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 for inquiries on High Level Court matters scheduled for this week and next week.  All scheduled Fort Vermilion matters will be heard in Peace River. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 if you’re unable to register your name and phone number. Matters will be held by phone if necessary.
  • In many cases, tickets can be paid online. For any other inquiries requiring direction from the court about Peace River and Fort Vermilion court matters, call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256.
  • Alberta Health Services has issued a special air quality statement.
  • Residents driving through the area should carry enough fuel as there may be shortages.

Post Secondary

  • Apprentices or journeypersons from the High Level area who have questions should call the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Information line at 1-800-248-4823, Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or visit tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca.
  • Post-secondary students with questions about Alberta student loans can call 1-855-606-2096, or toll free in North America at 1-855-606-2096 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Pets and livestock

  • Residents who may have left their pets at home can call 780-926-2201. Volunteers can check on your pets.
  • Mackenzie County has stock trailers to assist with livestock transport. Visit www.highlevel.ca for more information

Donations and volunteers

Canada Post

  • Canada Post has suspended mail delivery services in the communities of High Level, Meander Creek, Chateh, Rainbow Lake, Fort Vermilion and Manning.
  • Mail will be held at the Edmonton depot until mail service resumes.

Social services

  • Residents receiving benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) or the Income Support program by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in High Level, can visit their nearest Alberta Supports Centres Alberta Supports [www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx] to pick up their cheque. Note: if you are in La Crete you can pick up your cheque at the local reception centre. If you receive your benefits via direct deposit, your payment will be deposited as usual.
  • For information on child intervention and child care, residents may contact 1-800-638-0715.
  • If persons with developmental disabilities, their families or contracted service providers need human, financial, or in-kind assistance to connect with loved ones, find accommodations or provide assistance to individuals receiving PDD supports, please contact the nearest Alberta Supports Centre for assistance. You can find a list of Alberta Supports Centres online Alberta Supports www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or you can call the Alberta Supports contact Centre at 1-800-232-7215 provincewide between 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Health card

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card at no cost, you can contact 780-427-1432 or toll free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455, open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for wildfire-related information.
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