Wet weather helps crews battle wildfires in northern Alberta

Firefighters in Alberta have received a helping hand from mother nature as rainfall across the province helped minimize the wildfire threat.

By Laura Krause

Firefighters in Alberta have received a helping hand from Mother Nature, as rainfall across the province helped minimize the wildfire threat. But we aren’t out of the woods yet.

“It doesn’t take much for it to get hot and dry again, windy conditions to sort of flare up and whenever we get that, you know the conditions are quite easy for a wildfire to start and spread quickly,” explained Travis Fairweather, an information officer with Alberta Wildfire.

The wildfire burning south of Fort McMurray is now classified as ‘held’ by Alberta Wildfire. The four neighborhoods that were ordered to evacuate last week were given the green light to return home over the weekend, but Fairweather says the hard work has now just begun.

“Once it goes from out of control to being held, that’s when the real work starts. That’s when our firefighters are out there with shovels and axes and chainsaws, and really like doing that hard work on the ground. Digging deep into the soil because that fire burns so deep into the ground,” he explained.

According to Alberta Wildfire, the fire danger across the majority of the province is now low to moderate.

“Those days where we needed our umbrellas over the past couple of weeks had been incredibly instrumental in meaning the firefighters don’t need to catch a wink when they can because it’s looking like a much wetter season out there so far. And that translates to a reduced wildfire risk, which will be a significant improvement to the strain on resources we’ve had over the past couple of years,” explained Kevin Stanfield, CityNews Meteorologist.

More than 1,800 wildfire evacuees from Fort McMurray registered at the reception centre at the Clareview Recreation Centre in Edmonton, but with the evacuation order and notice being lifted over the weekend, the centre has ended its services.

In the province’s wildfire update Tuesday afternoon, the Government of Alberta noted that 44 millimeters of rain helped with wildfire efforts over the weekend.

In addition, there are currently 230 firefighters and 22 helicopters currently battling the blaze near Fort McMurray.

Since the beginning of the year, 357 fires have been recorded, which has resulted in 28,794 hectares being burned.

Supports continue to be available for those affected by wildfires. Albertans impacted can contact the Government of Alberta website or call 310-4455.

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