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Military personnel assessing need for soldiers in fight against Dunes West Wildfire

Members of the Canadian Military have made their way to Grande Prairie to assess the need for wildland firefighting trained solders. The four-person reconnaissance team landed in the city Tuesday, following the arrival of 27 firefighters from the Calgary Fire Department Monday, with more support on the way.

As of 10:20 p.m., new mapping data shows a total of 4,700 hectares of land has been burned so far. The Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership says weather conditions have allowed for flythrough of areas previously inaccessible and experts are adjusting detailed maps of the fire boundary.

“The site is active with embers, hotspots, and smouldering fuel such as tree roots, logs and shrubs. Hotspots are dangerous as they can quickly flare up and result in rapidly spreading live flames.”

Drones are being used to identify those hotspots for response. A perimeter has been established around the out-of-control fire but it is not considered secure.

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It’s expected that weather conditions overnight will help with firefighting efforts, but thunderstorms and high temperatures in the forecast could create more challenges.

So far, more than 934 evacuees have registered at Bonnetts Energy Centre. Of those, 136 temporary access permits have been approved for residents to visit their properties, and it’s noted that residents can reapply based off of changing conditions, although there is a backlog.

Local farmers north of the evacuation area are being asked to disc and seed land to add an additional barrier and protection against the wildfire, as it helps slow the spread by turning up soil and burying fuel sources. The area in question is between Township Road 710 and 712.

Anyone else who would like to volunteer or offer resources like equipment or supplies is encouraged to submit a form online. Financial donations can be made to the Northwestern Alberta Emergency Response Fund through the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.

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