Wildfire causes partial evacuation of Alberta community of Duffield

Fifty-one homes in the Alberta community of Duffield were evacuated because of a brush fire.

'If you're having fires now and springs just started, what's it going to be like in a month from now?'

Two subdivisions in the Albertan community of Duffield have been evacuated because of a brush fire. (Isabella Turner )

Fifty-one homes in Duffield, 65 kms west of Edmonton, were evacuated Sunday afternoon because of a brush fire. 

Sarah Mate, the public information officer for Parkland County, said the evacuations were precautionary and no structures have been lost. 

The neighbourhood of Edinburgh had 22 homes evacuated and Trafalgar Heights 29.

Crews are fighting the fire from both the ground and air. There are 75 emergency workers on location, 50 of which are firefighters.

'What's it going to be like in a month?'

Andrea Muste was one of those evacuated. She said she woke up with her family and the saw smoke and helicopters grabbing water from Johnny's Lake.

She initially thought the fire was under control, but at around 2:30 RCMP showed up and evacuated her and her neighbours. 

Muste said the timing of the fire worries her. 

"I think everyone is just freaked out because it's so early in the season," said Muste. "If you're having fires now and springs just started, what's it going to be like in a month from now?"

"It's kind of scary."  

Andrea Muste said when she saw the helicopters flying she thought the fire was under control. (Daryn Ottenereit)

There is no grassfire season

According to Shawn McKerry, the acting fire chief for Parkland County, the fire started around noon on Sunday and crews were on scene within half an hour. He said the top priority was to containing the perimeter before nightfall made it too dangerous.

"We probably have the perimeter at 75 per cent control, meaning that 75 per cent of the fire has been halted in place," said McKerry.

"The other 25 per cent is the one we're working really hard to try and capture before night comes."

McKerry said grassfire season can begin as soon as the snow is gone.

"People just anticipate and say 'well it's not grassfire season.' Yes it is, that's why we're here today," said McKerry. "This isn't the first grassfire of the weekend or the first grassfire of the month."

"We've been out a lot."

Parkland County provided the evacuated residents with shelter at a local community hall until they were able to return home several hours later. A total fire ban has been issued for the County. 


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