Fire 'not threatening our community': High Level mayor issues encouraging update
Published Monday, May 27, 2019 5:50AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, May 27, 2019 8:48PM MDT
Mayor Crystal McAteer hopes High Level residents can come back home by the end of the week.
While it is “still a dangerous fire,” McAteer said it is “not currently threatening our community.”
Officials are now looking at bringing back High Level residents safely. McAteer is aiming for the weekend, but re-entry could come before or after that.
“We need to make sure the air quality is good,” McAteer said.
“I know you are all anxious to get home.”
Miriam Amoo, a mother of four, told CTV News she's ready to go home.
“It’s been tough, it’s been hard," Amoo said. "Because we are waiting like, ‘Oh, they are going to tell today to go home,’ and there is nothing. They keep saying the fire is getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”
The mayor also said that winds are still uncertain and warned things could take a turn at any moment.
The fire is now about 127,000 hectares in size as of Monday afternoon. There are 194 firefighters working within High Level, while Alberta Wildfire has 400 firefighters outside of the community.
“We’re putting out hot spots in some critical areas around the community,” Alberta Wildfire Commander Scott Elliott said.
“Weather has not cooperated in any way. We’re still experiencing hot, dry, windy conditions. The threat of extreme fire behaviour has not been alleviated. Having said that, the work that we have completed around the community here has been holding, and we’re continuing to extinguish any hot spots that remain to ensure that it is safe when people do return into town."
ATCO has now restored power to the community.
There have been no reports of injuries or damage as a result of the fire.
Funding for evacuees
Wildfire evacuees are able to pick up emergency funding from the government starting Monday.
Residents who were forced to flee because of the fires can receive a one-time payment of $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.
The money is coming at the right time for Charles Courtoreille.
“It’s gonna help me greatly," he told CTV News. "Used already all my money so I’m kind of I’m flat broke today.”
Registration started on Sunday for anyone who wanted to receive the funding electronically. Those who want to receive pre-loaded debit cards can begin picking them up at reception centres starting at 10 a.m. on Monday.
Trout Lake fire
An emergency alert has been issued because of a new fire near Trout Lake. The government says the blaze, which is about 300 hectares in size, is burning about 14 kilometres southeast of the community.
They are warning residents that they may need to evacuate on short notice.
Trout Lake is about 500 kilometres north of Edmonton.
There are currently six wildfires burning out of control across the province.