Following the loss of the Fox Lake water treatment plant, Alberta continues to struggle with raging wildfires that have now led to 15 evacuation orders and a province-wide state of emergency.
As of May 16, Alberta has approximately 87 active wildfires and 1,649 Alberta Wildfire personnel deployed across the province. Early on in the emergency, some 24,500 people across more than 20 communities were forced to evacuate.
Northern Alberta was hit particularly hard as the fires broke out in early May. Wildfire in the remote Fox Lake area destroyed 20 homes, a police station and a water treatment plant, local officials reported.
Fox Lake is the largest of three communities that make up the Little Red River Cree Nation, approximately 850 kilometres north of Edmonton. It has a population of about 3,700.
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Local firefighters and equipment operators are hard at work on the Paskwa Fire located in the community of Fox Lake. We’re grateful for the support of our communities during this time! pic.twitter.com/ZBGd1UvsG3
— Alberta Wildfire (@AlbertaWildfire) May 11, 2023
A camp that can house 500 people is under construction in John D’Or Prairie in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.
“I know it’s difficult to lose a home like that, but we will rebuild,” said Chief Conroy Sewepagaham in a video post to the Fox Lake community.
No injuries have been reported in the Fox Lake community. Alberta Health Services is deploying mobile air quality monitoring, as multiple communities report high levels of smoke and ash residue.
The intense Fox Lake area fire covers about 4,400 hectares, according to Alberta Wildfire.