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Challenging conditions expected Sunday, Monday as crews continue to battle Wapiti River wildfire

Fire crews from the City and County of Grande Prairie, as well as Alberta Wildfire, continue to battle a growing blaze south of Grande Prairie but say challenging conditions will continue in the region over the coming days.

The Wapiti River fire is now 1,700 hectares in size, up from 1,500 hectares on Saturday, and going up against it are 10 fire engines and 15 water trucks, along with a helicopter to bucket water on the fire, and a forestry helicopter monitoring conditions. Fire guards have been put in place around several subdivisions in the impacted evacuation zone, and those more fire guards will be put in place if needed.

The weather forecast for the coming days, however, shows increasing windy conditions, with little to no rainfall expected. Crews are preparing for the conditions to continue to pose a challenge throughout Sunday and into Monday.

For evacuees requesting temporary access to their properties in the evacuation zone, officials, are reminding everyone that requests are limited to urgent needs like prescription medications that cannot be filled elsewhere. The safety of the public and crews is priority, so requests are assessed based on allowable area, need and current wildfire.

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An evacuation alert remains in effect for residents from Township Road 712 south to the Wapiti River from Range Road 74 to Range Road 80, including the Pipestone Creek area. Anyone inside that zone should be prepared for the potential of an evacuation on short notice.

The evacuation order remains in place for all residents from Township Road 712 south to the Wapiti River and between Range Road 65 and Range Road 74 as well as all residents from Township Road 710 south to the Wapiti River and between Highway 40 and Range Road 75. This includes up to the Dimsdale area.

According to the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership, more than 560 animals, including cattle, horses, and chickens have been evacuated from the affected area.

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