Despite the evacuation order lifted for High Level residents, the Grande Prairie Emergency Response Partnership remains active. Residents from Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, MD of Opportunity, and Northern Lights County still remain in Grande Prairie under a mandatory evacuation order.
“We are very excited people to get to return to their homes, but we are still activated and still here to support the over 400 who remain in our region,” says GPREP Information Officer Lesley Neilsen-Bjerke.
In total, GPREP officials say they had close to 1,000 evacuees in the city over the last two weeks and Neilsen-Bjerke says at times they felt a bit strained.
“Because of our resources here or the lack of, since we were getting so full, there was probably a day and a half when we said we were at capacity. But then, we found additional spots for evacuees and they kept coming.”
However, Neilsen-Bjerke says the job done by administrative staff was stellar, and she believes they deserve a ton of credit for keeping things running smoothly.
“The mood has always remained pretty constant in the emergency coordination centre because we knew we still had hundreds of evacuees to support, so we just kept planning for that.”
Currently, GPREP has two structural protection units deployed to northwestern Alberta to help fight the fires, the remaining units have all been returned to normal operations.