(Photo Supplied: A wildland firefighter battles the Horse River blaze on May. 19, 2016. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry / WEB)
As of 5:30 p.m., Wednesday two new wildfires started in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. One of them has already been extinguished, the other is being held by 12 firefighters and two helicopters. That fire is located about 100 kilometres north of Fort McMurray approximately 3.9 kilometres north west of McClelland Lake. Currently the 0.1 hectare fire isn’t threatening any communities.
The Horse River Fire is still considered out of control and is estimated at 587,707 hectares in size including the portion on the Saskatchewan side of the border, it too isn’t threatening any communities.
“Agriculture and Forestry has 2,082 wildland firefighters and support staff, 80 helicopters, and 169 pieces of heavy equipment working to extinguish this wildfire,” wrote Shannon Stambaugh, Wildfire Information Officer in an update. “Firefighters, aircraft and heavy equipment are pre-positioned in the Fort McMurray Forest Area and are ready to respond to any new wildfires.”
Although rain is expected over the next few days, with a significant downfall on Thursday, expect to continue to see smoke in the region over the coming days.
Recent dry conditions have increased the potential for smoke within the boundaries of the Horse River Wildfire as smouldering ground fires can produce smoke columns visible in Fort McMurray.
“These smouldering ground fires do not pose any risk to the city of Fort McMurray,” noted Stambaugh. “For questions or concerns please call the PULSE line at 780-743-7000.”
For your safety and the safety of workers Agriculture and Forestry is asking residents to stay away from burned areas.