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Emergency preparations in place for Fort Chipewyan amid wildfire concerns

An aerial view of Fort Chipewyan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Community leaders in Fort Chipewyan said emergency preparations are ongoing against growing wildfire risk.

The Municipality issued a joint statement with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Alberta Emergency Management Agency, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Fort Chipewyan Métis Nation.

They addressed the situation with a nearby wildfire labelled MWF031.

As of July 7, it is not directly threatening the hamlet and Alberta Wildfire classified is being held.

READ MORE: Officials elect to let wildfires play out north of Fort Chipewyan

The agency also announced it upgraded the fire advisory for the region north of Lake Athabasca to a fire ban.

Darren Clarke, Assistant Deputy Fire Chief with Regional Emergency Services (RES), said there is no immediate risk.

“We want to assure the community that we are ready if the situation changes. We have well developed emergency management plans in place and the Municipality is actively working with provincial and community partners to ensure resources are available as needed.”

As a precaution, RES moved several teams, along with the Emergency Management team, into the area.

Provincial organizations such as Alberta Forestry are also providing support and logistics.

“Mikisew Cree First Nation continues working to ensure the safety of its members and collaboratively with other Fort Chipewyan communities, AEMA, AB Forestry, to ensure the whole community is protected.” Said Wayne Heikkinen, Acting Director of Emergency Management for the MCFN.

More resources, including mobile sprinkler trailers, will be in Fort Chipewyan in the coming days.

“As a sovereign nation that means doing everything we can to help our people and community,” Said Jay Telegdi, Director of Emergency Management for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “That means working closely with all levels of government and other nations to make sure the community as a whole is looked after.”

The Municipality provided a list of action items on its website to help community members prepare.

“Fort Chipewyan Métis Nation is reassured that our community will be safe and protected through the work done together during our collaborative meetings.” Said FCMN Executive Director Tammy Riel.

As of publication, there are 11 active wildfires in the RMWB.

One is out of control, while 10 are being held.

The out of control fire is located in the Whitemud Falls area along Alberta’s border with Saskatchewan.