The MD of Greenview says the wildfire situation around Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation and the Town of Valleyview remains a significant threat for the region. CAO Stacey Wabick said in the municipality’s update Monday afternoon that the the Sturgeon Lake Complex Fire and Little Puskwaska fires have combined, after the latter broke through fire guards on Monday.
“The fire crews had the guards established and were in the process of watering those guards, but unfortunately, the fire still broke them.”
The forecast expected in the area doesn’t look to provide any relief, as wind gusts upwards of 50 kilometres an hour are expected late Monday night into Tuesday morning, which Wabick says is a concern for officials and firefighters alike.
Director of Emergency Management Wayne Brown echoes that concern, suggesting that the two fires essentially combining creates a more serious issue, and one of the reasons for the expanded evacuation order. However, Brown says they have and will continue to do everything they can to protect all infrastructure in the area to the best of their ability.
“We have approximately 60 firefighters from the fire base that has been established in Debolt. There is bucketing from helicopters in that area, and they’re doing as much as they possibly can.”
The Town of Valleyview was evacuated to Whitecourt as of 1:30 p.m. Monday. An evacuation order is in effect for residents from Highway 49 and Range Road 222, south to Township Road 700, west to Range Road 240, and north to Township Road 722 including Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation.