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a white house in edson with a white truck and trailer in the driveway with an orange smoke clouded sky above
Nicki Frison | CBC News

Wildfire Forces Edson To Evacuate Again

Wildfire continues to threaten Edson and Yellowhead County, with over 200,000 hectares burned

Firefighters are working hard to control a wildfire that is putting the town of Edson and parts of Yellowhead County in danger. The fire is still growing, so everyone needs to stay alert.

According to Christine Beveridge, Edson’s chief administrative officer, the fire is not spreading as fast as before, but the danger is not over.

Luc Mercier, Yellowhead County’s chief administrative officer, explained that the fire had not moved north towards the town yet, thanks to the crews’ efforts and the weather. However, they are worried that it could flare up quickly in that direction.

Some areas under evacuation were initially expected to allow people to return on Wednesday, but Mercier mentioned that this wouldn’t be possible for most areas.

But, the county is considering the removal of a portion of the evacuation zone north of Township Road 560 and west of McLeod River on Monday, depending on the weather.

a gloomy image of an abandoned edson with smoke from a nearby wildfire blocking out sunlight
Edson appears to be a ghost town after receiving an evacuation order | Sean McClune | CTV News Edmonton

The fire, known officially as EWF031, has grown to over 200,000 hectares from 130,000 hectares on Friday. This is one of 77 wildfires currently burning in the province, and 23 are out of control.

On Friday evening, the 8,400 residents of Edson were ordered to evacuate. The town has faced an evacuation order due to wildfires for the second time this season.

Caroline Charbonneau from Alberta Wildfire revealed that the fire is now only two kilometres south of Edson. The strong winds on Friday night caused the fire to spread rapidly.

“(On Monday) we don’t expect very strong winds, but the winds have been so unpredictable that we can’t take any chances,” Charbonneau told CBC News

According to Mercier, Yellowhead County had planned to wind down its emergency response operations, but they had to change their plans when the fire got out of control. 

“That idea went out the door when the fires just went over control very drastically again,” commented Mercier. 

FortisAlberta, the electricity distribution system manager in the Edson area, reported that 342 customers in Cadomin and Robb are without power.

They are assessing the damage caused by the wildfire to their facilities and working to restore power.

AltaLink, Alberta’s largest electricity transmission company, assured that the power supply to areas west of Edson, including Jasper and Hinton, has not been affected.

The weather is expected to remain hot until Wednesday, and evacuees might not be allowed to return home before then. Firefighters are doing their best to protect structural guards and patrol neighbourhoods.

They are also moving things like propane tanks, barbecues, and hanging planters away from homes to prevent them from catching fire. Sprinkler systems and water bombers are also being brought in to help fight the fire.

Evacuees like Calvin Bootsman and Pamela Holden have sought refuge at the Edmonton Expo Centre, which is serving as a reception center.

“Not again; I just couldn’t believe we were having to do it again,” Holden said in an interview with CBC.

Although help is being provided, Bootsman hopes that more crews can be brought in to speed up the evacuation process.

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