COLD LAKE FIRST NATION – A wildfire that was deemed ‘out of control’ for several hours caused the evacuation of some Cold Lake First Nation (CLFN) members in the early evening of May 4.
The fire was first reported at 3:28 p.m. prompting swift action from local firefighter officials, states a media release from CLFN.
The wildfire was burning from east to west in the southeast section of Cold Lake First Nations 149, affecting everyone south of Township Road 614 and up to Range Road 424.
“By 4:30 p.m., the RCMP had commenced the notification of nearby residences to initiate an evacuation. Despite the efforts of local crews, the fire raged out of control, necessitating an emergency evacuation order,” continues CLFN. Evacuees were directed to Hotel Dene.
Based on the magnitude of the situation, authorities reached out to Alberta Forestry for support to suppress the fire, however, CFLN noted in a later press release that Alberta Forestry was unable to attend due to their involvement in other ongoing emergencies.
“Subsequently, wind conditions improved, which contributed to the reduction of the spread of the fire,” CLFN noted.
Around 9 p.m. that evening, MD of Bonnyville residents living in the “Wildfire Standby Evacuation Zone” were notified by the municipality's Public Safety Department to prepare for the possibility of an evacuation within two to 24 hours.
Shortly before 11 p.m. that evening, CLFN shared that firefighters had successfully contained the blaze and would continue to work throughout the night to eliminate any residual hotspots.
“We are pleased to report that the evacuation of approximately 40 homes has been carried out efficiently and with the utmost care, and we are grateful to report that there have been no injuries or loss of homes associated with this incident,” the Nation stated.
Early Friday morning, CLFN public works crews started out clearing brush to make fire breaks and will continue to do so over the next few days.
“These fire breaks will prevent the spread of wildfires and protect homes if another one was to break out,” states CLFN. “The fire ban is still in effect and will remain until enough rain has fallen to reduce the danger.”