200 evacuated from northern Alberta reserve as fire threatens road

About 200 people have fled the Tall Cree First Nation in northern Alberta due to a wildfire.

About 200 people have fled their community in northern Alberta due to a wildfire.

Audrey Meneen, director of emergency management for Tall Cree First Nation, says the wind shifted and was blowing the fire towards the main highway.

She says officials had previously decided if the fire was threatening to cut off Highway 88, they would evacuate the community as a precaution.

Meneen says residents went to High Level, about 160 kilometres northwest of the reserve, and were staying at a hotel.

The Alberta government says the fire was five kilometres from the Tall Cree First Nation, about 650 kilometres north of Edmonton, on Thursday.

There were also four wildfires burning north of Meander River and that community's residents were on evacuation alert.

The Alberta government says hot, dry conditions are pushing the threat of wildfires in forested areas to extreme levels.

The province says wildfires that start under these conditions can grow very large, very quickly and are very difficult to put out.

There are 46 wildfires listed as out of control Thursday and the government says there is a strong likelihood of more fires caused by lightning strikes.

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for northeast Alberta due to wildfire smoke. 

It says people should be aware of potential health concerns, and that even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.


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