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Damage details, length of evacuation order unknown in Yellowhead County


Yellowhead County and the Town of Edson do not not have a timeline for residents returning home. 

Evacuation orders remained in effect for several communities Saturday morning. 

The most recent was ordered late Friday for the Town of Edson, which has a population of about 8,000. Just after 5:30 p.m., residents between Township Roads 550 and 520 between Marlboro and Chip Lake were told to leave immediately. 

A map of the evacuation zone in Yellowhead County and Edson on May 5, 2023. (Source: Facebook/Yellowhead County)

Evacuees were asked to head west to Hinton or Jasper. Westbound Highway 16 was closed at Highway 43. Those who needed help could call 1-833-334-4630. 

In a 9 a.m. Saturday update, officials said Yellowhead County, the Town of Edson, and their partners and contractors were still battling several wildfires. 

"At this time, we do not have a timeline of when that might be, but rest assured that all involved are doing everything they can, and we will update you as soon as possible," they said in an update online

As of that morning, the town had not sustained any fire damage. 

However, officials said "some areas in the east end" of the county were damaged by a 2,200-hectare wildfire about seven kilometres northwest of Evansburg. The blaze is burning on both sides of Highway 22, three kilometres north of Highway 16, and was about 65 per cent contained according to the latest information from Alberta Wildfire. 

"We know residents have been calling in to find out the state of their properties, but until our teams are able to do a full assessment, we do not have property-specific details at this time. 

"We are working on getting this information and will update people as soon as we are able to verify," the county and town said in the joint statement. 

The mayor of Edson told CTV News Edmonton residents prepared to evacuate all day Friday.

"It was very smoky in town throughout the day today, so some left earlier," Kevin Zahara said, speaking at the Edson and District Leisure Centre.

"You can see the flames from town. Fire crews have been working hard to try to contain it, but our focus right now is to get people out of the community."

"It doesn’t look great. To be really honest it looks very scary," one resident, Shawn Alam, commented. 

"The sky is pitch black and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Right now we’re closing everything and then hope we go in the right direction and get some help in Hinton."

Evacuation centres were set up at:

  • Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre at 805 Switzer Drive in Hinton; and
  • Jasper Fitness and Aquatics Centre at 305 Bonhomme Street in Jasper.

Evacuees have been asked to register in person at one of the reception centres or by calling 1-833-334-4630. 

Edson is approximately 215 kilometres west of Edmonton.

A number of Alberta communities have been evacuated due to wildfires this week.

For the latest alerts and information, click here

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Sean Amato Top Stories

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