Edmonton

McMillan wildfire near Slave lake was arson, RCMP say

A wildfire northeast of Slave Lake, Alta., that grew to 273,000 hectares and threatened several communities was the result of arson, RCMP said Tuesday.

'We will find the person responsible for the McMillian wildfire,' forestry minister says

Firefighters at the McMillan Complex Fire, which grew to 273,000 hectares. RCMP say the fire was deliberately set. (Alberta Wildfire)

A wildfire northeast of Slave Lake, Alta., that grew to 273,000 hectares and threatened several communities was the result of arson, RCMP said Tuesday.

The McMillan Complex wildfire started near the community of Wabasca in May.

As the fire grew, it forced the evacuation of the communities of Wabasca and Peerless Trout First Nation, among others. The fire was not brought under control until July 1. 

"The safety of Albertans is our top priority in fighting wildfires," Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen said in a statement.

"To the families affected by this wildfire who were evacuated, and to the forest industry who suffered losses, we will find the person responsible for the McMillian wildfire. This is an important step in helping to build trust in Alberta's justice system."

Alberta wildfire investigators and the RCMP forestry crimes unit believe the fire was started near Wabasca around 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, near Kilometre 40 on Highway 754, northeast of Slave Lake.

Anyone with information about the wildfire or other fires in the area is urged to call 1-833-999-FIRE (3473).

According to the government there have been 982 wildfires in the forest protection area of Alberta since March 1.

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