Part of First Nation southwest of Edmonton evacuated due to fire

 By Angela Amato


Wildfire danger has forced the evacuation of part of a First Nation southwest of Edmonton.

Corrine Bell with the O’Chiese First Nation Emergency Management Response Team said Wednesday that 103 people have evacuated the northern area of the reserve. One home has been lost and several have smoke damage.

“We’re taking advantage of the gap in weather to tend to hot spots,” said Bell, adding the community is hoping the wind won’t change directions.

Bell said even O’Chiese Chief Douglas Beaverbones has been involved in the firefighting efforts on the First Nation, located about 230 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.

Six nearby First Nations have also offered their fire services to help.

“We’ve had an amazing support system from First Nations,” Bell said.

An alert is in place for the entire First Nation in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Earlier Wednesday, an evacuation order was lifted for the hamlet of Evansburg, Alta., about 120 kilometres west of Edmonton.

Residents were told to leave on May 1 as dry and windy conditions fuelled wildfires that put the hamlet and surrounding rural area at risk.

Some nearby communities remain under a mandatory evacuation order, including Wildwood, Lobstick Resort and Hansonville.

Alberta’s wildfire status dashboard was reporting 77 active wildfires Wednesday afternoon, 24 of which are out of control.

Firefighters from Yukon, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have arrived in Alberta to help. The government said Tuesday that crews were also expected from New Brunswick, Oregon and Alaska.

Some areas in central Alberta have experienced cooler temperatures and rain, but the government has said a return to hot and windy conditions is expected in the coming days.

City of Edmonton spokeswoman Lisa Glover said numbers of evacuees at the Expo Centre have fluctuated throughout the day.

“Yesterday we served about 1,000 meals, however, only 10 individuals stayed the night,” she wrote in an email.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2023.


Add Your Voice

Is there more to this story? We'd like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Contribute your voice on our contribute page.