Grass fires near Bruderheim, Alta., force residents to evacuate homes

Several large grass fires were burning in the area near Bruderheim on Saturday, forcing some residents to be evacuated while others are preparing to flee should things worsen.

Meanwhile, a forest fire near High Level, Alta., closed a highway and forced campers to flee

Multiple grass fires were burning near Bruderheim, Alta., on Saturday. (Courtesy: Wade Poloway Photography)

Several large grass fires were burning in the area near Bruderheim, Alta., Saturday, forcing some residents to be evacuated from their homes, while others prepared to flee should things worsen.

Fire departments from Bruderheim, Lamont County, Chipman, Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona County are all involved in fighting "multiple large grass fires," according to a Fort Saskatchewan RCMP press release.

The press release said residents in the area of Range Road 204 between Township Roads 562 and 564 have been evacuated, through it's not known how many residents are affected. On Twitter, evacuees were being urged by the Town of Bruderheim to check in at the Bruderheim Fire Hall at 5112 Queen Street.

Bruderheim is about 75 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. (Courtesy: Wade Poloway Photography)

Wind and dry conditions were an issue, said Bob Scott, deputy fire chief for Strathcona County. His crew — including 46 firefighters with 16 pieces of equipment, two bulldozers and a helicopter — was battling the blaze located within the Strathcona County boundary.

That fire threatened several farms but no buildings were lost and there were no formal evacuations, Scott said. Late Saturday, the fire had started to die down but Scott was expecting things to worsen again on Sunday when temperatures rise.

A fire advisory is in effect for the Town of Bruderheim which bans open fires in rural areas that normally require a permit. Barbecues and recreational fires with a screen are still allowed. 

In surrounding Lamont County, a complete fire ban was issued on May 3 which includes all open fires and rural burning.

Bruderheim is about 65 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

Wildfire in northern Alberta

Meanwhile, multiple wildfires are burning in Mackenzie County.

A forest fire that started Saturday afternoon north of High Level, Alta., closed a highway and forced the evacuation of a small campground on Hutch Lake, which remains closed. 

Highway 35 was closed Saturday for a few hours about 30 kilometres north of High Level, as the fire burned on both sides of it. It has since reopened. 

A press release from High Level RCMP said the evacuation of the Hutch Lake cabins and campground is a precaution. A reception centre has been set up for evacuated people in Zama City and Fort Vermilion.

High Level is 740 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.