Hundreds search for woman missing from fire lookout tower

A intense search is underway for a woman missing from a fire lookout tower near Hinton.

Hundreds of people are intensely searching for a woman missing from a fire lookout tower near Hinton.

Stephanie Stewart, 70, is a seasonal worker at the Athabasca fire lookout station,about 25 kilometres northwest of Hinton.

The RCMP, search-and-rescue teams, conservation officers and volunteershave been scouring the areasince she was reported missing Saturday. Police are calling her disappearance suspicious.

RCMP Cpl. Al Frasertold CBC RadioMonday that itwas very unusual for Stewart to be out of contact.Alberta sustainable resources personnel usually speak with their lookout staff up to three times a day, he said.

Family members last heard from Stewart Friday night.

18 yearsexperience

Fraser said Stewart, who was working alone, has 18 years of experienceat the job.He describedher as exceptionally fit with no known medical conditions.

Stewart works at the tower throughout the summer season, usually from April to September, leaving her post only to pick up supplies and mail, Fraser said.

Police saythe tower is in a well-visited area and are asking for the public's assistance in locatingStewart.

She's described as five feet one inch tall and weighing about 100 pounds. She has blue eyes, shoulder-length grey hair and wears glasses.

Police are asking anyonewith informationto call Hinton RCMP at (780) 875-2455.

Hinton is about 280 kilometres west of Edmonton.