Alberta wildfire claims 15 homes

Published: June 2, 2019

Updated: June 30, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Over a dozen home in northern Alberta have been destroyed by a wildfire that has been burning and growing in the area over the last two weeks. Properties in the Alberta Metis community were taken by the blaze and authorities say more homes are at risk.

“It’s like a burnt piece of toast up there,” reported Blake Desjarlais of the Metis Settlements General Council.

“The whole land has been scorched – traplines destroyed, waterways destroyed, people’s hunting cabins, fishing cabins, livestock assets.”

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in areas around the town of High Level, with the latest evacuation orders sent to the community of Trout Lake on Friday. Until now, the fire has grown without destroying any properties. The loss of burned homes in Paddle Prairie signify the threat the fire poses.

More than 10,000 people are out of their homes in the northern part of the province, with Trout Lake being the latest community to empty Friday morning.

But the first reports of destroyed homes has come from Paddle Prairie.

Authorities have said major population areas remain relatively safe as winds have been kind, but the fire continues to grow and present risk to homes.

Desjalrais confirmed around 15 houses were burned to the ground, while two community structures. However, he said the residents and the community itself remain safe for the time being. The council member adds ranches have had to set their animals free.

“They had to release them and they don’t know the status of their animals,” Desjarlais said.

“That fire would have chased them really, really far away or they wouldn’t have made it out of the fire at all.”

Forecasts for the wildfire over the nest two weeks are not positive and the fire could be hard to contain. There are currently 29 active fires burning across Alberta, with 10 deemed to be out of control.

In terms of the number of wildfires, this year’s season is so far below a five-year average. However, the blazes are causing more problems because the amount of land they have consumed is 3.5-times higher than the five-year average.