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Crews making progress containing Rocky River Fire

Last Updated Jun 14, 2023 at 9:28 am MDT

Fort Chipewyan wildfire. (Courtesy: Alberta Wildfire)

The southern flank of the so-called Rocky River Wildfire threatening Fort Chipewyan is 100 per cent contained.

That’s according to Alberta Wildfire, which added a significant amount of rain is also expected for the region.

Fire Chief Jody Butz addressed RMWB Council on June 13, 2023, in a progress report.

“While the fire remains out of control, containment is a term they use to describe the establishment of a perimeter that will prevent the fire from spreading. Having the southern flank contained is an important tactical move, and a milestone in the success of reentering this community.”

Butz added next steps include controlling the southern flank by extinguishing the fire at least 100 meters into the 25-kilometer boundary.

READ MORE: Winds pushing wildfire away from evacuated Fort Chipewyan

The RMWB explained how containment works in a tweet on June 10, 2023

“An enormous amount of work is being done by teams on the ground to protect Fort Chipewyan. This includes firebreaks, vegetation management and sprinkler protection systems.”

As of June 13, the Rocky River Fire is approximately 60,568 hectares in size, and did not move closer to Fort Chipewyan.

It remains 4.5 kilometers from Allison Bay, and 2.5 kilometers from the hamlet’s airport.

An evacuation order and state of local emergency has been in effect since May 30, 2023.

227 personnel are working on the wildfire using air and ground suppression equipment.

Re-entry Plan

In a statement, the Municipality said an exact date or estimate for re-entry to Fort Chipewyan has not been set.

It make several recommendations to evacuees on how to prepare.

“Evacuees returning by air will be permitted to bring up to 50 pounds of personal luggage with them on the plane. An extra 100 pounds of additional cargo will also be allowed, free of charge, for each evacuee on later flights. For any additional luggage, the evacuee will be responsible for coordinating their own shipping and costs.”

A decision on re-entry will be made by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Fort Chipewyan Métis Nation, Alberta Wildfire, and the RMWB.