Evacuation alert issued for Fort McMurray and Saprae Creek

11 May 2024

The Alberta government issued an Emergency Alert Friday evening for residents near Fort McMurray and Saprae Creek due to an out-of-control wildfire.

Fort McMurray fire - Figure 1
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The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo issued the evacuation alert at 6:38 p.m. MT.

The alert includes Fort McMurray and Saprae Creek Estates and states the fire is currently 25 km southwest of Fort McMurray, and smoke could impact visibility on Highway 63 south of Fort McMurray.

Residents in the effected area should  be ready to evacuate on short notice.

This is not an evacuation order, but residents are also being reminded to keep essential items like medications, important documents, and emergency kits ready for quick departure.

At around 9 p.m. Thursday, Alberta Wildfire said it was responding to an out-of-control wildfire about 28 kilometres southwest of Fort McMurray. At the time it was 12 hectares in size.

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In an update just after 9:45 p.m., Alberta Wildfire said the blaze had grown to 34 hectares.

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Crews, air tankers and a night-vision helicopter were working to build a fire guard around the wildfire and get it contained.

Alberta Wildfire said smoke was visible in the area Thursday night, but it was not affecting any communities.

Fort McMurray fire - Figure 2
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In an update at 9 a.m. Friday, Alberta Wildfire said four crews of wildland firefighters, three helicopters and airtankers were working on the fire.

Alberta Wildfire posted another update at 4 p.m. on Friday stating the fire had grown to 200 hectares in size and remained out of control.

The update said the fire was located approximately 25 km southwest of Fort McMurray, on the south side of the Athabasca River valley. Alberta Wildfire said the flames were moving east, driven by strong winds, and is showing extreme fire behaviour.

The update said three night vision helicopters would be working on the wildfire overnight, due to a cold front moving through the region, which was expected to bring strong winds in the overnight hours.

Alberta Wildfire said the fire danger in the area remains extreme.

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A fire restriction remains in effect for the Fort McMurray region.

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The wildfire happened just hours after Alberta Wildfire officials provided an update on the province’s wildfire status Thursday morning. At that time, officials said there were no wildfires out of control in the province, but warned conditions could quickly change.

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For the latest information on which areas in Alberta are under an evacuation alert or order due to a wildfire, visit the Alberta Emergency Alert website.

For the latest information on the wildfire status and danger across the province, visit the Alberta Wildfire website.

The latest information on fire advisories, restrictions and bans across the province can be found on the Alberta fire bans website.

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