Alberta wildfire smoke shrouds Edmonton in haze

Evidence of the significant growth in the fires in the northwest Alberta can be seen as far south as Edmonton Friday morning.
Edmonton's Muttart Conservatory is shrouded in haze Friday morning from the smoke of wildfires burning in northwest Alberta. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Evidence of the extent of the fires in the northwest Alberta could be seen as far south as Edmonton Friday morning.

The  smokey haze hanging over the city is coming from the stubborn wildfires in the Zama City area.

The smoke prompted Alberta Health Services to issue a smoke advisory. The air quality index was at 8 at noon — an index of 2 is considered good air — and people with respiratory conditions are advised to stay indoors if possible.

The largest fire, now 155,000 hectares, prompted an evacuation of Zama City earlier this week, though it has not crept any nearer to the hamlet.

More than 100 firefighters — 21 from the Yukon — joined the fight Thursday bringing the total to about 200, along with helicopters and heavy equipment.

The province has requested additional help from other jurisdictions, but so far has not heard anything back, said Janelle Robb, with Sustainable Resource Development.

A shift in the winds to the southeast Friday though should help firefighters, she said.

About 160 residents are still out of their homes in Zama City and waiting to hear when they will be able to go back.

Two other fires in the region — near La Crete and Meander River — have also grown significantly.

There are close to two dozen fires burning out of control in the northern half of the province.