Fire growing closer to Fort Fitzgerald and Fort Smith

Fires burning in the northern most portion of the RMWB and Northwest Territories are continuing to pose a challenge.

Now called the Wood Buffalo Complex, fire MNZ003 is just over 432,000 hectares in size and just six kilometers from Fort Fitzgerald in the RMWB, and five kilometers from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.

Parks Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, The Municipality of Fort Smith, and Alberta Wildfire say with the current forecasted fire weather and fuel conditions, the Wood Buffalo Complex has the potential to continue exhibiting extreme fire behaviour over the next 48 hours, and it may continue to spread towards the communities of Fort Smith and Fort Fitzgerald.

According to the agencies, one of the last remaining tactics for protecting the community are landscape-level ignition operations where fire specialists bring the fire to large holding features including highways, dozer guards, and the airport lands.

The agencies are imploring anyone who has not already done so, to evacuate the area immediately. They stress that it is not safe for people to remain behind while these critical measures are taking place.

First responders from Parks Canada, Alberta Wildfire, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and the municipality of Fort Smith are relocating their bases of operations.

Authorities say issues with the area’s power supply, the ability to provide safe drinking water, and healthcare services are no longer sustainable. They will be keeping a small compliment of resources in Fort Smith to protect the community. Other crews are being relocated to Fort Chipewyan and outside of Fort Smith.

The agencies say their hearts go out to all the affected community members, their families, and friends.

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