Wildfires are burning dangerously close to a central Albertan town in what federal officials say is an “unprecedented” fire season across Canada. Here’s a look at developments Sunday:
New evacuations triggered in B.C.
Residents in parts of northeast British Columbia have been asked to flee their homes because of encroaching wildfires.
The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality has issued an evacuation alert for the remote areas of Ittsi Creek and Maxhamish Lake, located about 125 kilometres north of Fort Nelson.
On Vancouver Island, the first guided convoy of essential services vehicles left Lake Cowichan today on an unpaved logging road, heading toward several communities cut off by forest fires.
Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino have been stranded since a wildfire cut off access to Highway 4, the area’s major transportation link.
Pilot vehicles will guide convoys of commercial vehicles carrying people and supplies to those communities until further notice.
Fire crews knocking on doors in central Alberta
Officials in Edson, Alta., say firefighters are going door-to-door to help fireproof homes in the community, which is threatened by an approaching forest fire.
The town says in a news release that fire crews are moving flammable items including propane tanks and wood piles away from houses and other structures.
Peace officers and members of the RCMP are also doing regular patrols.
Evacuation orders remain in place for Edson and parts of Yellowhead County, which is about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton.
Officials said in a video update Saturday that the massive fire was just 1.5 kilometres south of Edson’s boundary.
Fire chews through transmission towers near Edson
Alberta’s largest regulated electricity transmission company is warning residents in areas near the town of Edson to be prepared for extended power outages.
AltaLink issued a series of tweets saying several transmission towers south of Edson have been consumed and toppled by a spreading wildfire.
The company says so far, transmission infrastructure supplying power to towns west of Edson has not been affected.
The Saturday evening tweets from AltaLink say the situation remains fluid.
Quebec firefighters get help from France
Quebec’s natural resources minister says wilderness firefighters are now taking the offensive against the province’s forest fires rather than simply reacting to the blazes.
Maïté Blanchette Vézina says coordinated attacks against the fires are now possible due to reinforcements from other jurisdictions, including a team of wilderness firefighters from France.
She says there are still 131 fires burning in the province, but the number of blazes deemed out of control has dropped by 28 to 44.
But she says it’s not yet safe to allow people to return to any of the communities that have been evacuated.
Later in the day, however, the mayor of Chibougamau, Que., said the roughly 7,500 residents forced from their homes by an evacuation order could start returning as of Monday
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2023.