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High Level again under evacuation alert, La Crete evacuated as raging wildfire threatens communities


Residents of High Level are again under an evacuation alert as the raging wildfire that prompted the town’s evacuation a month ago pushed back toward the community.

Dry and windy conditions Monday provided an active day for several fires blazing in northern Alberta prompting several evacuation orders and alerts.

La Crete, a hamlet southeast of High Level with a population of about 2,500, was forced to evacuate late Monday night as the fire moved within 10 km from the west. The evacuation order also applies to residents in the rural area outside La Crete east of Steep Hill Creek.

Evacuees are asked to register at the Fort Vermilion reception centre. La Crete was previously on an evacuation alert, but served as a refuge for some High Level evacuees removed from their homes.

Previously evacuated communities were forced to flee again Monday as the Dene Tha’ First Nation’s Bushe River and Beaver First Nation’s Child Lake reserve and Boyer River reserve were ordered tor evacuate Monday night.

The fire moved within six kilometres of the Boyer River cell tower as of Monday night and southwest winds were expected to aid movement of the fire overnight.

The Chuckegg Creek blaze, last measured around 300,000 hectares, grew rapidly in a north/northeast direction Monday. Fire crews completed a back burn along the Peace River to remove vegetation and reduce the risk of the fire spotting across the river.

Easterly winds and continued dry conditions are expected to be challenges Tuesday causing significant risk of fire spotting up to two km.

High Level town council will be meeting Tuesday morning to review the evacuation alert and overnight fire conditions. The community of about 4,000 people were allowed to return to their homes June 3 after the same wildfire forced a two-week evacuation.

Evacuees return to Edmonton

Another massive wildfire further south forced the community of Trout Lake to re-evacuate to Edmonton Monday evening. About 215 residents from the Peerless Trout First Nation travelled to Edmonton for the second time after previously being evacuated two weeks ago.

Extreme conditions from the 265,245-hectare McMillan Wildfire Complex pushed the fire within six km of the Trout Lake community. Crews were focused on steering the fire away from the north and northwest portions Monday.

Alberta’s northernmost community of Indian Cabins was also evacuated Monday due to a separate wildfire burning north of High Level. Evacuees were told to travel north on Highway 35 to the Northwest Territories.

duscook@postmedia.com

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