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Fire at lumber mill near High Level contained, evacuation order lifted

A fire at a lumber mill near High Level, Alta,. that started Wednesday afternoon is now contained, and an evacuation order has been lifted.

Fire started at Norbord's mill yard and 'quickly spread to the log storage area'

Mackenzie County posted this photo of the fire at the Norbord yard near High Level, Alta., Wednesday afternoon. Norbord says the fire has been contained and all employees were safely evacuated. (Mackenzie County/Facebook)

A fire at a lumber mill near High Level, Alta,. that started Wednesday afternoon is now contained, and an evacuation order was lifted at noon today.

Rural residents in an area five kilometres south of High Level between the Bushe Reserve and Highway 35 were asked to leave yesterday due to the out of control fire.

Residents will now be allowed to return home, but they're asked to remain on "'immediate alert' in case the situation changes due to the expected weather conditions," according to the Mackenzie County Facebook page.

The fire broke out at Norbord's Oriented Stranded Board mill yard, according to a news release today from the company.

"As a result of the hot, dry, windy weather conditions in northern Alberta, [it] quickly spread to the log storage area outside the plant," the release says.

The company says it immediately suspended production at the mill.

"Fire crews, including helicopters, have been on site since yesterday afternoon and the fire is currently contained to the log storage area outside."

All non-essential mill employees were evacuated from the site, and the company says no one was hurt. It's assessing the damage to the mill and how the fire will impact its operations.

A news release from Mackenzie County says 74 people from 21 homes were affected by the evacuation.

A picture of the affected evacuation area, including Norbord's site and the town of High Level. (Town of High Level/Twitter)