Fires are raging in Alberta right now, and smoke from the fires is creating a health hazard for many people. Numerous fires in the Alberta area include the Chuckegg Creek Fire (Town of High Level), Battle Complex Fire, McMillan Complex Fire, and more. Read on to see maps of the fires and learn more about what’s happening in Alberta. Remember that fire conditions can change rapidly, so stay tuned to your local news for the latest updates.
Alberta, Canada Fire Maps
The main fire map for Alberta, Canada can be found here. Red fires above are out-of-control. The largest out of control fire right now is in the Town of High Level, the Chuckegg Creek Fire. You can see the full map here, but it’s sometimes having trouble loading. An embedded interactive map is below, courtesy of Alberta Wildfire.
Next is an Alberta wildfire danger map, showing you the areas of greatest danger for May 31:
Next we will focus on the Chuckegg Creek Fire, followed by fires and details for specific regions of Alberta.
Chuckegg Creek Fire Size & Updates for May 31
The Chuckegg Creek Fire (known unofficially by some as the High Level Fire) is now 237,000 hectares in size, up from 127,000 hectares on Wednesday. This is more than 560,000 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Approximately 10,000 people have been evacuated so far. Here’s a map of the fire itself:
This fire is located about 3 km southwest of the Town of High Level.
The weather outlook could worsen the fire, Alberta.ca warned last night: “The weather today yielded cooler conditions, which helped reduce the intensity of recent fire behaviour. However, the weather outlook expects continued warm and dry conditions with limited levels of the substantial precipitation needed to significantly calm fire behaviour and aid firefighters in suppression efforts.”
On May 31 at 11 a.m., Alberta.ca noted:
Firefighters, heavy equipment, and aircraft are focusing on establishing containment in priorities areas, including: north of Highway 58, from Highway 35 to the Peace River, the Paddle Prairie area, and to the east of the Peace River. Structural firefighters continue to assess and mobilize structural protection in critical areas of the fire, with focus in and around Paddle Prairie where active fire remains, as well as east of the Peace River and from Keg River to Carcajou to the south of the fire.
Firefighters continue to consolidate containment along Highway 35 to High Level. Heavy equipment is building fire guards to the north of High Level to limit further spread of the fire on the north side towards Hutch Lake. Thick smoke continues to prove a challenge to the safe ability of personnel and aircraft to operate south of Paddle Prairie. The weather outlook expects winds from the east today, with continued warm and dry conditions and limited levels of the substantial precipitation needed to significantly calm fire behaviour and aid firefighters in suppression efforts.
The fire is now more than twice the size of Edmonton and is one of the biggest fires in Alberta’s history. It grew about 80,000 hectares on Wednesday. It will likely take months to put this fire out.
According to the Town of High Level’s Facebook page, the following road closures are in place:
- Highway 35 North of High Level is restricted to only essential personnel, along with the Zama access road. (As of May 31, the Highway from Hutch Lake to the NWT border was opened to all traffic.)
- Highway 35 South of High Level is closed in both directions south of High Level to Notikewin.
- Highway 58 west of High Level is restricted to emergency personnel only in both directions.
- Highway 58 east of High Level is open for eastbound traffic only.
- Township Road 1172A eastbound is restricted.
- La Crete Ferry is closed.
- Highway 697 is closed from Highway 35 to Range Road 164.
- Highway 88 is still open at this time.
Next is a look at wildfires in Alberta by region.
Calgary Forest Area
Calgary Forest Area: There are no active wildfires here, thankfully.
Edson Region Fires (EWF043)
Edson Area: EWF043 Fire is out of control as of May 30 at 11:30 a.m. It was detected May 29 and is 40 km southeast of Edson and 29 km west of Cynthia. It’s moving southwest and is 205 hectares in size. A map of the fire as of 9 p.m. May 29 is below.
Here’s a photo of the Edson Fire:
Edson’s water supply is set up to allow plenty of water in reserves.
Fort McMurray & Grand Prairie Regions
Fort McMurray Area: Smoke is drifting into the area, but there are currently no fires in Fort McMurray.
Grand Prairie Area: The wildfire danger is high. No fire is listed on their page.
Additional High Level Area Fires
The Chuckegg Creek Fire isn’t the only fire in the High Level Area.
Wildfire HWF066 (The Jackpot Creek Fire) is out of control near Steen River at 24,730 hectares, causing a mandatory evacuation for Steen River and road closures on Highway 35.
Lac La Biche Area
Lac La Biche Area: Extreme fire danger, with smoke drifting in from Slave Lake and High Level area fires. No current active wildfires in this area.
Peace River Area Is Facing Three Wildfires
Peace River Area: There’s an extreme wildfire danger in the area and existing fire permits are suspended. There are no new fires as of May 30 at noon in this area, but there have been 70 total fires in this area during the fire season so far.
The current fires are:
Battle Complex (Notikewin and Battle River wildfires).
The Battle Complex Wildfire (PWF 052) is out of control and 52,322 hectares in size. Growth is mainly on the south, on the northeast and southeast portions.
This fire is south of the Chuckegg Creek Fire in Alberta, near Manning in the Peace River region, Global News reported. As of the evening of May 30, it’s classified as out of control and is labeled PCX-001. It’s 52,322 hectares in size, located in the Manning/Notikewin area, Alberta.ca reported. Cooler temperatures may help reduce the fire’s size.
PWF070 is being held at 251 hectares west of Keg River. A map is below.
The Chuckegg Creek Fire is now a problem for the Peace River area too, particularly Paddle Prairie where homes have already been lost. See the section above for more details about this fire.
Rocky Mountain House Area
Rocky Mountain House Area: Wildfire danger is high. Existing fire permits remain valid. There have been 25 wildfires in the area since March 1 for a total of 12.81 hectares.
Slave Lake Area Is Facing the McMillan Wildfire Complex
The Slave Lake Area has an extreme fire danger and is dealing with the McMillan Wildfire Complex. Mandatory evacuations were issued as of 1 p.m. May 30 for Chipewyan Lakes, the Hamlet of Wabasca and Bigstone Cree Nation. As of 10 p.m. on May 30, the biggest fire danger was from what is now called the McMillan Wildfire Complex.
This fire (which is actually a combination of fires) is affecting communities in the Slave Lake region.
The SWF-049 fire estimated to be 133,952 hectares in size and is out-of-control. It’s located 6.5 km west of Wabasca No. 166B and 166D, 23 km northeast of Marten Beach, and 36 km northeast of Slave Lake, as of the evening of May 30. It’s located along Highway 754.
The SWF-050 fire his holding at 1,457 hectares.
The SWF-069 fire is 45,845 hectares as of the evening of May 30 (it was formerly called the Maria Lake Wildfire.) It’s out of control, with the west flank about 13.8 km southeast of Trout Lake, according to Alberta.ca. It recently joined the McMillan Complex Fire.
Three Wildfires Are Burning in the Whitecourt Forest Area
Whitecourt Forest Area: Fire danger is very high. Three wildfires are burning in the area. These are:
- WWF-028 – under control and 20.30 hectares in size.
- WWF-032 – out of control. This is 20 km northwest of Highway 32, 25 km northeast of Highway 43, and 11 km northeast of the Sakwatamau River. It’s 51.9 hectares in size.
- WWF-033 is under control and 3.6 hectares in size.
Details & Updates on Evacuations in Alberta from the Fires
According to Alberta’s emergency update and Albert.ca, mandatory evacuations are currently in place for the following locations. Remember: evacuations can change suddenly. Stay tuned to your local stations for updates.
Mackenzie County & the Town of High Level
- The Town of High Level (and areas south/southeast of the town) as of May 20
- Mackenzie County rural residents south and southeast of the Town of High Level
- Areas south of Bushe River Reserve
- La Crete Ferry campground, North and South of Highway 697 to Range Road 164 (Steep Hill Creek) and Steen River.
- Evacuees must register at 780-927-3718.
Voluntary evacuations are in place for areas north of Town and parts of Mackenzie County south of High Level.
High Level evacuees are asked to register at one of the following evacuation centers: Slave Lake Legacy Centre, High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre, Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC), Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Resort, La Crete Heritage Centre, and Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex. If you can’t register, call 780-502-0778 and leave a voicemail.
According to Alberta.ca: “The Mackenzie County Incident Command Centre is open at the Fort Vermilion County office (4511-46 Avenue) and the phone number for inquiries is (780) 927-3718 (monitored 24/7). For all public notifications, please follow the Mackenzie County Facebook page.”
Dene Tha’ First Nation
- Mandatory evacuation for the Bushe River Reserve, Meander River and Chateh. Updates here.
Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement
- A mandatory evacuation order is in place.
- Eleven homes were destroyed from the wildfires.
- Updates here.
Northern Lights County
- Keg River, Carcajou, and everyone from the northern border the County of Northern Lights to Township Road 922 (Notikewin Road).
- La Crete Ferry Campground east to Range Road 164 and north and south of Highway 697.
According to Alberta.ca: “All evacuees are requested to report at the Registration Centre located at the County of Northern Lights Main Office building at #600-7th Ave NW Manning. Please refer to the County of Northern Lights website for full details.”
MD of Opportunity
- Wabasca, Bigstone Cree Nation, Sandy Lake and Chipewyan Lake Village
- Register at the Calling Lake Recreation Centre (2870 Central Drive).
Peerless Trout Lake First Nation
- Everyone in the Trout Lake area
- “Persons evacuating must attend the Back Lakes Arena in Red Earth Creek to register and receive further information.”
- The remaining areas of Peerless Trout First Nation should be prepared to evacuate on short notice.
- Updates here and here
Town of Slave Lake
- An eight hour evacuation notice is in place here. Be ready to leave on short notice, and have cars filled with fuel and emergency supplies ready.
Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park and Marten Beach Subdivision
- Hamlet of Marten Beach, evacuees should take Highway 88 south and register at the Slave Lake Legacy Centre.
- 8-hour evacuation notice is in place for Old Smith Highway, Mitsue, Poplar Lane, Fawcett Lake, Eben Road and Bayer Road.
Help with Pets & Evacuation Payments
Help with pets: Animal control is collecting pets that were left behind. Call 780-926-2201 for details about your pets if you have any that need to be picked up.
Evacuation payments: Any Alberta resident affected by the wildfire can apply for a one-time evacuation payment of $1,250 per adult and $500 per child under 18. Apply here.
Smoke Issues from the Fires in Alberta
On Friday, May 31, Environment Canada issued an air quality statement warning people with lung conditions, cardiovascular issues, children, and seniors to consider staying inside if they have breathing difficulties. According to the statement, the thickest smoke is moving northwest today and the flow is shifting southeasterly. Conditions are expected to stay hazy over the weekend.
See an interactive map of air quality warnings here. Click on any region to see the latest alert near you. Below is a list of every location with a link to where you can find your location’s air quality statement for May 31:
- Airdrie – Cochrane – Olds – Sundre
- Brooks – Strathmore – Vulcan
- Cardston – Fort Macleod – Magrath
- City of Calgary
- City of Edmonton – St. Albert – Sherwood Park
- Crowsnest Pass – Pincher Creek – Waterton Lakes Nat. Park
- Cypress Hills Provincial Park – Foremost
- Drayton Valley – Devon – Rimbey – Pigeon Lake
- Drumheller – Three Hills
- Fort Chipewyan – Wood Buffalo National Park
- Fort Saskatchewan – Vegreville – Redwater – Smoky Lake
- Grande Prairie – Beaverlodge – Valleyview
- Hanna – Coronation – Oyen
- High Level – Rainbow Lake – Fort Vermilion – Mackenzie Hwy
- Hinton – Grande Cache
- Jasper National Park
- Kananaskis – Canmore
- Leduc – Camrose – Wetaskiwin – Tofield
- Lethbridge – Taber – Milk River
- Lloydminster – Wainwright – Vermilion – Provost
- Medicine Hat – Bow Island – Suffield
- Nordegg – Forestry Trunk Road Highway 734
- Okotoks – High River – Claresholm
- Peace River – Fairview – High Prairie – Manning
- Red Deer – Ponoka – Innisfail – Stettler
- Rocky Mountain House – Caroline
- Slave Lake
- Spruce Grove – Morinville – Mayerthorpe – Evansburg
- Wabasca – Peerless Lake – Gift Lake – Cadotte Lake
- Westlock – Barrhead – Athabasca
Unfortunately, the problem is still continuing today, CBC reported. People in southern Alberta are asked to stay indoors and keep their windows closed on Friday, May 31. An air quality index of 10+ is in place for Calgary, Airdrie and Red Deer.
Photos of Alberta Fires & Smoke Issues
Residents are sharing photos of areas that look almost apocalyptic at times. Here are some photos shared on Reddit.
Memes are coming into play too.
How to Stay Updated on Alberta Fires
You can stay updated specifically about High Level on their Facebook page.
To stay updated on Dene Tha’ First Nation, follow their Facebook page.
For updates on Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, see their Facebook page.
Subscribe to the Edson Forest Area wildfire update to receive an email when new information is posted about that region.
You can also follow Alberta’s Emergency Alert website here.
Remember that situations and evacuations can change rapidly, so stay tuned to your local news for the latest updates.