Community of 700 in northern Alberta ordered to evacuate due to wildfire

GARDEN RIVER, ALTA. — A community of 700 people in northern Alberta has been ordered to evacuate due to a wildfire.

A provincial alert issued Wednesday said people in Garden River are not in immediate danger, but there were concerns the fire could cut off access to Highway 58, the only road into the community.

The fire was less than nine kilometres from the highway.

The alert said residents must leave and go to the Horizon Camp on the First Nations settlement of John D'Or Prairie. It advised them to bring medications for multiple days and important documents.

Garden River is about 800 kilometres north of Edmonton in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Due to heightened wildfire danger, the province also issued a fire ban in its forest protection area, a region spanning from the southern Rocky Mountains into the north.

The government said in a news release that hot and dry conditions have led to 137 new wildfire starts since July 1. The temperature in the Garden River area was expected to reach 28 C on Wednesday.

Municipalities and federal lands, including national parks, are exempt from the fire ban but may issue their own.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press