Hundreds of homes destroyed by flames
Hundreds of homes in the Slave Lake area have been destroyed by flames. At last word, the out-of-control wildfires have wiped out about a third of the town.
Around 8 p.m. Sunday, Slave Lake's town hall caught fire, followed by the library, and the main mall. By Monday, CTV News has learned the town has no power or water. But all area banks and schools are intact.
The town's hospital was evacuated Sunday, and 29 patients had to be moved to hospitals in neighbouring Westlock, Boyle and Athabasca. One patient was flown to Edmonton. The hospital has been damaged by flames, but officials believe it can be repaired.
"There are electricity lines down, there's water breaks, there's gas lines possibly cracked. There are hotspots," said Sgt. Tim Taniguchi with RCMP "K" division.
A state of emergency was declared and residents were told late Sunday to evacuate town or face being arrested. All residents, with the exception of rescue crews, fled town.
Officials with Sustainable Resource Development confirm the blazes are still out of control. Rob Harris says the situation remains volatile, and he believes crews still have "a long way to go."
Crews are still trying to save homes.
Firefighters from Edmonton headed to the site Sunday evening, to help fire crews try to bring the blazes under control.
It's expected that more firefighters from B.C. and Ontario will arrive at the site by Tuesday. Crews remain concerned about forecasts calling for continued high winds in the area.
Hundreds of residents fear they may not have a home to return to.
"Our house is out of town, I don't know if it's gone yet or not," said Myrna Franklin.
The town's mayor says the community is in no position to welcome residents back in.
"Their safety is paramount. And our community is not in a situation to have them back in our community," said Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee.
The premier arrived in Slave Lake later Monday afternoon to see the situation first-hand.
"This is probably the worst curve ball nature has thrown at us," said Premier Ed Stelmach. "You have winds at 100 kilometres. You have four foot waves in the lake. They had to shut down the water bombers…these were calls made by professionals."
- Family members looking for information on where medical patients were moved can call Alberta Health Services at 1-866-301-2668.
- For anyone looking for information about friends and family evacuated from Slave Lake call 1-800-565-4483 for assistance.
- The Alberta arm of the Red Cross is accepting donations for displaced residents. You can donate by calling 1-800-418-1111.
With files from CTV's Sean Amato