Multiple fires are raging in Canada, including fires in Alberta and Yukon, causing concern for officials and residents in the region. Read on to learn more about the High Level Fire, the Trout Lake Fire, the Yukon fire, evacuations, interactive maps, and more.
For the latest fire updates, see Heavy’s story on Canada fires for May 31 here.
Interactive Fire Maps in Canada
There are a number of maps and interactive maps you can view to get an overall indication of fires currently in Canada.
This first one is a Fire Weather Map from CWFIS, which indicates fire danger levels and is updated each day. Blue is low danger and red is extreme danger, where fires would be difficult to control because of current conditions. This map is not embeddable, but you can view it here.
You can also see a map of Fire M3 Hotspots here. This indicates heat sources as shown by satellite imagery, indicating vegetation fires or parts of a larger fire. Another hotspot map is here. Here’s the image for today, May 30:
Next is an interactive fire map from CWFIS. You can use the arrows to pan the map and use the plus and minus icons to zoom in. Here’s a screenshot of the map below, but you’ll want to click on the interactive map link to zoom in. The screenshot below is for a fire danger interactive map.
If you use the Overlay feature, you can turn off “Fire Danger” and turn on “Active Fires.” Large red circles indicate the largest fires. A direct link is here, and a screenshot is below.
Canada also provides an interactive map of fires in the Alberta area here, but sometimes the map doesn’t work quite right in the full version if there’s a lot of traffic. Here’s an embedded version of the map:
If the map is not working when you visit this story because of a high level of interest, here’s a screenshot below of what you should see for the Alberta area:
Chuckegg Creek Fire (High Level Fire)
The High Level Fire (known officially as the Chuckegg Creek Fire) continues to rage on and grow, despite efforts to contain it. The Chuckegg Creek Fire is now 230,000 hectares in size, up from 127,000 hectares yesterday. Approximately 5,000 people have been evacuated in the High Level area so far. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Current conditions are extreme. According to Alberta.ca: “The wildfire danger for the High Level Forest Area is Extreme. Due to warmer temperatures, and no significant rainfall in the forecast. A Fire Ban and Off-Highway Vehicle Restriction remains in effect. Please use caution in the forested areas. To report a wildfire please call 310-FIRE.”
Here’s a map of the fire, released on May 30, 2019 at 10 a.m.:
Alberta.ca noted on May 30:
The Chuckegg Creek Fire experienced extreme fire behaviour yesterday with significant growth to the south towards Paddle Prairie, across Highway 35 by Highway 697 and spotted across the Peace River. Continued hot and dry conditions along with variable, gusty winds have proved a challenge to firefighting efforts and safety. Municipal firefighters and heavy equipment responded, with structure protection established as possible to the south of the fire. The fire also experienced growth to the west and continued fire activity on the north part of the fire around Watt Mountain.
Firefighters, heavy equipment, and aircraft are assessing the situation given the recent fire growth and will focus on priority areas. Structural protection and municipal firefighters are working to protect values. The weather forecast today anticipates cooler temperatures and higher minimum relative humidity, though winds today are expected to remain gusty and are expected to come primarily from the north.
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.
- 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.
This fire is located about 3 km southwest of the Town of High Level.
Here is a map of all the wildfires in the High Level Forest area, as shared by Alberta Wildfire. Below is a screenshot, but you can see the interactive map here. Red fires are active and out of control, green fires are active but under control.
Evacuations in Alberta
- The Town of High Level (and areas south/southeast of the town) as of May 20
- Mackenzie County residents south and southeast of the Town of High Level
- Mackenzie County’s La Crete Ferry campground, and all residents east of La Crete Ferry campground, North and South of Highway 697 to Range Road 164 (Steep Hill Creek.) Evacuees must register at 780-927-3718.
- Northern Lights County for residents in the Keg River and Carcajou areas. Register at the County of Northern Lights Main Office at #600-7th Ave. NW Manning. An evacuation FAQ is here. An evacuation map is here.
- All residents from the northern border of the County of Northern Lights to Township Road 922 (Notikewin Road)
- Dene Tha’ First Nation communities of Bushe River, Meander River, and Chateh
- Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement
- Steen River mandatory evacuation was issued on May 30 by Mackenzie County due to Wildfire HWF066.
- Wabasca, the Bigstone Cree Nation, and Chipewyan Lake Village
- Hamlet of Marten Beach (take Highway 88 south and register at the Slave Lake Legacy Centre)
Meanwhile, a one-hour evacuation notice is in place for Peerless Trout Lake First Nation, and an eight-hour evacuation notice is in place for the Town of Slave Lake. A two-hour evacuation notice is in place for the Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park and Marten Beach Subdivision, with an eight-hour notice in place for Old Smith Highway, Mitsue, Poplar Lane, Fawcett Lake, Eben Road and Bayer Road.
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.
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.
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.
More than 80 firefighters are battling a 494-hectare fire near Haines Junction in Yukon, CBC reported. The fire, which is burning at Bear Creek about nine kilometers northwest of Haines Junction, grew from 137 hectares on Monday to 494 on Tuesday. The cause of the fire is believed to be human activity, Yukon News shared.
You can see an interactive map of the fires in the Yukon area here. Or view the map embedded below:
A fire ban is in effect at Kluane National Park and Reserve.
Here’s the latest update:
Pikangikum First Nation Fire (Red Lake 14 Fire)
A state of emergency was declared in the Pikangikum First Nation because of fire and heavy smoke, TB News Watch shared. The Red Lake 14 fire is just about two kilometers away from the Northwestern Ontario First Nation community. Another fire burning near the Manitoba border is also causing issues with public health in the region. As many as 300 people may be evacuated in the next two days from the Northwestern Ontario First Nations community.
Here’s a video of the fire from yesterday:
This is a serious situation.
As of 2:15 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, planes had not yet arrived for evacuations and members of Pikangikum were arranging their own evacuation plans.
About 1,600 people need evacuating and the fire is nearing houses on the river.
Canadian forces are deploying Hercules aircraft to help with the evacuation. As of 3:45 p.m., the first aircraft had finally arrived to help with the evacuation.
But as of 7:10 p.m. Eastern, only one plane had left so far. However, a second Hercules and two Chinook helicopters are on the way.
Trout Lake Fire
The Trout Lake fire sparked this weekend and leading to an evacuation notice for communities in northwestern Alberta, Global News shared. The fire is located 14 km southeast of Trout Lake, and near the Peerless Lake First Nation. It’s in the Slave Lake forest area about 300 km northeast of Grand Prairie, CBC reported.
As of 6 p.m. on Sunday, the fire was 300 hectares in size and smoke was making driving in the area hazardous. But as of Monday, the fire was holding firm at the same size. It’s unclear what the fire’s current status is.
Here’s the overall Alberta wildfire danger map:
Additional active fires in the Alberta region include:
Calgary Forest Area: 0 active wildfires
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.
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.
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: 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). PWF 052 is out of control and 52,322 hectares in size. Growth is mainly on the south, on the northeast and southeast portions.
- PW054 is out of control at 74.23 hectares in size in the Battle River area.
- PWF070 is being held at 251 hectares west of Keg River. A map is below.
- The Chuckegg Creek Fire spread to the Peace River area, particularly Paddle Prairie.
Rocky Mountain House Area: Wildfire danger is high (not extreme like other areas). 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: Extreme fire danger in this area. Mandatory evacuations were issued as of 1 p.m. May 30 for Chipewyan Lakes, the Hamlet of Wabasca and Bigstone Cree Nation. Three new wildfires are in the area east of the Maria Lake wildfire. They are 1 to 20 hectares in size.
Slave Lake noted the following on May 30: “Currently the Town of Slave Lake is not at threat of imminent danger, however due to extremely dry conditions and unstable fire activity the Town of Slave Lake is on a 8 hour Evacuation Alert (this is not an Evacuation Order at this time). Residents should prepare to be able to evacuate the community on short notice. Please ensure you have any required medication/prescriptions, a supply of drinking water and food and have a full tank of gas in your vehicle. You may also wish to bring along important documents such as passports, identifications, insurance policies, etc. Please also consider arrangements for your pets should you be required to leave the community.”
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.
You can see the interactive map for Alberta here.
Smoke in Canada
Here’s a crisis map for Canada (you may need to zoom in for details.) This doesn’t list fires, but it does list air quality statements for specific regions.
How to Stay Updated on 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.
You can also follow Alberta’s Emergency Alert website here.
For updates on Yukon fires, visit here.
Remember that situations and evacuations can change rapidly, so stay tuned to your local news for the latest updates.