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Town of High Level
Fire crews, sprinklers keeping High Level-area safe from wildfire
May 23, 2019
Efforts to protect the homes, businesses and structures in the Town of High Level and surrounding area are going well and continue to be a priority for officials and municipal partners.
Town Mayor Crystal McAteer said she is very proud of all the work of structural firefighters, RCMP and other emergency services workers to keep the town safe from the wildfire during the continued mandatory evacuation.
“I could not be more proud of, or more grateful for, the firefighters from High Level, and all the others who have come to our community from other parts of Canada to keep us safe,” McAteer said Thursday during an update on the fire situation. Her town is working in close collaboration with Mackenzie County, the Dene Tha First Nation and Alberta Wildfire, to ensure everyone remains safe and properties secure. “It continues to amaze me that so many people from our town and communities across Alberta and other provinces have come here, and continue to work long hours.”
While current conditions are positive, with the winds pushing the fire away from the town, the mandatory evacuation will continue into the foreseeable future, since the fire remains out of control, dangerous and highly active because of very dry conditions. Officials are continually reviewing the situation to determine when residents may return.
In town, 154 firefighters and 60 firetrucks from the High Level Fire Department and other municipal firefighters – including from Red Deer County, Grande Prairie and Whitecourt, among many other communities – have set up a sprinkler line along the perimeter of town. Sprinkers have also been set up to protect Mackenzie County homes, including around the Tolko and Norbord lumber mills. Propane tanks and flammable lawn furniture are being moved away from the sides of houses.
Wildfire crews are doing controlled burns along the fire line to remove combustible debris and dry grass.
“Unfortunately, the danger from the wildfire is not over,” McAteer said. “I understand that the residents are missing their homes, but I cannot stress enough, the danger outside of High Level is very real.”
McAteer asked for patience from residents and said she understands how difficult and disruptive this situation is. She has contacted the provincial government to ask for financial assistance for emergency expenses of the evacuees.
Residents should continue to monitor the Town of High Level website at highlevel.ca and the Mackenzie County Facebook page for any updates.
Media inquiries: 780-926-2201