LAKELAND - Going into a forcasted week of above seasonal temperatures, local and provincial fire officials are urging extreme caution in extremely hazardous conditions.
Along with the continuing provincial fire ban, local officials are urging area residents to use extreme caution when it comes to the dry grasslands and forests of the region. In and around Lac La Biche County, several wildfires continue to burn, with crews reporting them as either being held or under control.
Two fires in the Beaver Lake Cree Nation are still listed as under control. Last week, the larger of the two blazes along the southern border of the community, forced the evacuation of several area residents. Fires east of Imperial Mills are also being held. Both fires — one that was caused by lighting on May 5 — had burned less than 10 hectares going into the new week. Several larger fires around the community of Janiver are also listed as being held or under control this week. Those fires forced evacuation orders to be put into place for residents of that community.
Out of Control
Across the Lac La Biche Forest Protection Area that covers the Lakeland area and north into the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, one new fire in the northern part of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range has already scorched 380 hectares and is classified as out of control. That fire sits on the Alberta-Saskatchewan Border between Primrose Lake and Winifred Lake. According to Alberta Wildfire sources, winds are pushing that fire northeast into Saskatchewan.
There are currently 14 wildfires burning in the Lac La Biche Forest Protection Area; six are classified as being held, seven are under control, and one is out of control. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 116 wildfires in the Lac La Biche Forest Area burning approximately 674.65 ha.
Late last week, the Air Tanker Base at the Lac La Biche Airport saw the arrival of a CL215 water bomber fleet.
Lac La Biche County's Fire Rescue Service continues to urge residents to follow the restrictions of the fire ban and to use FireSmart strategies to keep the risks of fires low. Information on the municipal FireSmart program can be found at the County's website or at County offices.