An out of control wildfire west of Edmonton is expected to grow as temperatures rise this week.
A 181-hectare wildfire is currently burning in the Edson forest area near Evansburg, about 100 km west of Edmonton. The blaze crossed the Lobstick River Tuesday evening and is currently burning north of Highway 16 and west of Highway 22.
Alberta Wildfire spokeswoman Josee St-Onge said around 2 p.m. Wednesday that the fire was holding steady thanks to gentle winds from the northwest.
“This morning the fire activity was low, and there was low smoke in the area, which made for good visibility for crews,” she said. “But we are expecting fire activity to pick up this afternoon as temperatures rise.”
Residents along Highway 16 between Evansburg and Wildwood, including at the Lobstick Resort, were ordered to evacuate Tuesday evening. An evacuation centre has been set up at the Evansburg Arena. Yellowhead County is overseeing the evacuation effort.
The fire was rated at 143 hectares Tuesday evening and was assessed at 181 hectares Wednesday.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean it grew in size during the night, it’s just that this morning we were able to do another assessment and that is the number that was determined to be more factual,” St-Onge said.
Thirty-two firefighters were engaged in suppression and containment efforts Wednesday afternoon, aided by five air tankers and four helicopters.
St-Onge said the fire has yet to cross Highway 16.
Alberta Wildfire plans to provide its next update on the fire around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.