Slave Lake evacuation order remains in effect
Published Monday, May 16, 2011 10:05AM MDT
The evacuation order, put in place after a series raging wildfires overtook the city of Slave Lake, is still in effect.
Residents in the town of Slave Lake were told to evacuate town Sunday evening after a series of fires were encroaching on the town of Slave Lake. A state of emergency was declared and residents were told to evacuate town or face being arrested.
Everyone, other than those directly involved in the rescue, fled town and forced to wait from a safe distance as their homes and businesses burned to the ground.
Evacuated residents were relocated to the Westlock community hall, Athabasca Multiplex and to M.E. LaZerte high school in Edmonton.
Slave Lake's town hall caught fire shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday, followed by the library, and main mall. The hospital was evacuated, with 29 patients moved to hospitals in neighbouring Westlock, Boyle and Athabasca.
Early Monday morning, official believed the flames were slowing down as the wind dyed down, but the fire continued to burn uncontrolled in the east and north sections of the town.
"It's horrible; it's just going to spread because houses are ten feet apart," said Myrna Franklin. "Our house is out of town, I don't know if it's gone yet or not."
A local shopping centre's parking lot become a makeshift evacuation point for people trying to escape the flames and smoke. Displaced residents are also being sent to a Red Cross reception centre at Northern Lakes College, with two schools in the area being used as temporary shelters for evacuees.
"I feel bad for everybody," said Maurice Michaud. "I am not the only one; quite a few people lost their houses and everything else for that matter."
"I went driving and you couldn't' see anything," said Paul Michaud. "Everything was just under smoke and very hard to drive. I tried to get into a back street, and you can't, the flames are just shooting out as you are driving."
A shelter was also set up in High Prairie for any evacuees who could get there. Those that do are staying at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre. If you are looking for family and friends in the area, you can contact the Centre at 780-523-3388.
Several highways coming in and out of Slave Lake were shut down, causing massive gridlock as vehicles tried making their way out of the affected areas.
Highway 2 to Edmonton was opened late Sunday night to help with the evacuation.
- Family members looking for information on where medical patients were moved can call Alberta Health Services at 1-866-301-2668.
- Anyone looking for help in finding family and friends in Slave Lake can call 1-780-523-3388 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