Massive wildfire burns near Tomahawk, Alta., forcing residents from their homes
EDMONTON -- A wildfire in the vicinity of Tomahawk, Alta., west of Edmonton, forced nearby residents from their homes Thursday.
Parkland County issued a mandatory evacuation order within the following area: Highway 22 east to Range Road 63 and Township Road 524 north to Township Road 520.
According to officials, the fire started around 4:30 p.m. in the area of Township Road 514 and Range Road 63.
The evacuation notice was first issued as an Alberta Emergency Alert at 12:38 a.m. Friday as the wildfire continued to grow. The order was later expanded at 1:36 a.m., telling residents to "evacuate immediately."
Evacuees were asked to bring identification, medication, personal items, critical documents, and pets if time permitted.
A reception centre was set up at the Tomahawk and District Sports Arena at 51122 AB-759.
As of Thursday evening, the fire was between Range Roads 63 and 70 and between Township Roads 510 and 514 but officials warned that the fire is moving and is being aided by winds in the area.
RCMP were on scene to help direct traffic and assist in the evacuation orders.
RCMP could not say Thursday evening how many residents were forced from their homes by the evacuation order, but it was more than 10. Parkland County officials told CTV News Edmonton the fire was over 150 hectares in size and had destroyed an abandoned trailer that night.
Emergency crews say those living west of Range Road 62 to the western border of Parkland County should be prepared for possible immediate evacuation on short notice.
Alberta Wildfire told CTV News Edmonton that they have crews assisting with the fire, including six air tankers and a helicopter-based wildfire assessor to help coordinate firefighting efforts.
An Alberta Wildfire water bomber was helping fight the fire from the air as over 150 hectares was burned (Courtesy Karen Rominick).
An Alberta Emergency Alert was issued at 8:56 p.m. because of the fire.
"Fire growth is expected due to windy conditions," the alert read. "Crews will be working overnight to contain the fire."
Tomahawk, Alta. is approximately 18 kilometres south of Wabamun Lake's Seba Beach.