3 Wolf Willow homes badly damaged by brush fire embers

One house sustained a burned roof and attic. Flames gutted the top floor of the others. Two of the homes were three blocks away from the fire.
Firefighters focused their attention on the wooded area across the street from the damaged homes. (Zoe Todd/CBC )

Three houses were badly damaged Sunday when embers from a brush fire in the Wolf Willow neighbourhood of Edmonton landed on their roofs. 

One house sustained a burned roof and attic. Flames gutted the top floor of the others.Two of the homes were three blocks away from the fire. 

Deputy Fire Chief Scott MacDonald said the embers were carried by high winds. Firefighters were able to put out small fires on the roofs of other homes before they caused interior damage 

"A lot of the homes in this area have cedar shake roofs and they're dry," he said. 

Police are looking into whether the fire was deliberately set. 

Eyewitness Keegan Brooks said the fire appeared to have started in a nearby playground. 

"The wind came through, the flames exploded," he said. "Crews arrived 30 seconds after that." 

The Wolf Willow blaze was one of several brush fires keeping Edmonton firefighters busy Sunday. Another fire was reported around 6:20 p.m. in the Lessard area, near 53rd Avenue and 176th Street. 

Crews were also called to fires east of 34th Street, just north of Roper Road and at the Edmonton Golf and Country Club.

An earlier fire at Buena Vista Park in the river valley took firefighters an hour to get under control.

This picture was taken near 203 Walker Road in the Wolf Willow neighbourhood. (Keegan Brooks)

District Fire Chief Len Mushtuk reminded people that a province-wide fire ban was put in place for a reason.

"Can't get much dryer than it is right now, honestly, we'd sure like to see some rain," he said. "Once we get a little bit of rain we'll be able to return to summer activities but for the time being please be very careful."

The ban means open burning, backyard fire pits and the use of barbecues with solid fuels are prohibited.

With files from the CBC's Zoe Todd and Emily Fitzpatrick