Current situation

A number of out-of-control wildfires are burning in northern Alberta. A mandatory evacuation order is in effect for:

  • Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement
    • It is not safe for evacuees to return home. Check this page for further updates

All other affected residents should review your family's emergency procedures and download the Alberta Emergency Alerts app and follow 511 Alberta road reports and wildfire.alberta.ca for updates.

If you have questions about evacuation payments, locations of reception centres and other wildfire information, contact us.

Last updated: June 13 at 4 pm

Re-entry information

Be sure to read through the topics below for information on re-entry, including clean-up, turning your utilities back on and how to deal with door-to-door salespeople offering services and insurance.

Approximately 9,800 residents from the following communities have been approved to return home:

  • High Level (as of June 9, over 4000 residents have returned home)
  • MacKenzie County
  • Dene Tha' First Nation communities of Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh
  • County of Northern Lights, South of Twin Lakes Campground, including Notikewn, north of Twin Lakes Campground, including Keg River, Carajou, to the county’s northern border
  • Marten Beach (MD of Lesser Slave Lake)
  • Peerless and Trout Lake communities
  • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D
  • Hamlet of Wabasca-Desmarais
  • Hamlet of Sandy Lake
  • Hamlet of Chipewyan Lake

Returning evacuees were given re-entry packages with advice on what to do when they arrived home.

  • Returning home

    Re-entry packages can be downloaded from the Town of High Level website.

    First steps

    • Some services may be limited at first, but health care, police and other essential services are already in place
    • Please respect any restricted areas and any directions given to you by first responders or utilities workers
    • Fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions remain in effect for the High Level area.
    • Do not allow anyone to enter or play in areas damaged by fire.
    • If you smell gas, exit your home immediately and call the AltaGas Utilities 24-hour emergency line at 1-866-222-2068.
    • Check for electrical hazards such as exposed wires. Avoid contact with damaged or fallen power lines and poles. Contact ATCO at 1-800-668-5506 (24-hours) if there are any hazards.
    • Animals may have taken shelter in your home, garage or outbuildings. Leave a door open to allow animals to return on their own to their natural surroundings. Call a fish and wildlife officer at 1-800-642-3800 (24-hours) to assist with animals that appear injured or unwilling to leave.

    While you were away, firefighters took actions to protect your home in case wildfire entered the community. You may notice:

    • propane tanks and BBQs in your driveway – they were moved away from your home to make sure they didn’t ignite or explode
    • outdoor furniture on your front lawn – items can catch flying embers and start fires on your decks and in your yards
      • you can move your items back into your yards, but keep barbecues away from your house or from under trees – you can barbecue as usual
    • coloured tape on your homes, door, trees or shrubs – these were used to alert officials of potential fire risks around your home
      • leave the coloured tape on your property for now
      • in the coming weeks and months, contact your local fire department or FireSmart Canada to get advice on how you can better fire proof your home
    • sprinklers and water tanks positioned around town –please avoid them
    • a protective wide dozer guard and fire break dug around the north and west sides of the town

    Renovations and repairs

    See information on hiring a contractor to help with renovations and repairs to your home or business following a disaster in your area.

    Last updated: June 12 at 1 pm

  • Utilities

    Check your gas, electricity and water to make sure they are working. Contact your utility providers if your need to restore service.

    Electricity

    • If the electricity in your home is off, check your main electric panel and breaker.
    • If you are unable to restore electricity to your home, call ATCO at 1-800-668-5506.
    • Residential, farm, irrigation and small commercial electricity customers will not be billed for their electricity during the mandatory evacuation period from Monday, May 20 to Monday, June 3, 2019.

    Natural gas

    • Natural gas should be on unless you turned it off before you left. If off, relight your appliances according to manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Customers will not be billed for natural gas during the mandatory evacuation period from Monday, May 20 to Monday, June 3, 2019.

    Residents of High Level can call AltaGas Utilities at 1-866-222-2068 for help relighting appliances.

    Residents of Mackenzie County and Bushe River can call Northern Lights Gas Co-op at 780-928-3881 for assistance relighting appliances.

    Water

    Water has been tested throughout High Level and is safe for drinking and household use.

    • Run one of your taps for 1 to 3 minutes to refresh the taste of the water.
    • Water restrictions are in place for the first week of re-entry. Do not water lawns or wash your vehicles.
      • You can still hand-water outside plants and pots
    • Check your water and sewer systems if you do not have piped water and sewer services.

    Boil water advisory – Meander River

    Residents of Meander River should bring water to a full boil for at least one minute and let cool before using for drinking, brushing teeth and washing or preparing food. Water does not need to be boiled for bathing or washing clothes.

    Rescinded boil water advisories:

    • North Tall Cree and Little Red River Cree (May 31)
    • Fox Lake and John D'Or Prairie (May 29)

     

    Last updated: June 4 at 4:30 pm

  • Cleaning

    Offers for cleaning services

    Door-to-door salespeople and contractors may offer cleaning services to residents returning to evacuated communities.

    You should ensure anyone offering these services is qualified and has appropriate licensing and certifications.

    • Before you allow someone in your home, get answers to all of your questions.
    • Verify the identity of the salesperson and the information provided.
    • Ask for a proof of business licence or official credentials.
    • Don’t accept any verbal offers. Always insist on a written estimate and contract.
      • Ensure your contract includes a formal payment schedule, with terms and conditions of any deposits, refunds, and cancellations.
      • Don’t sign a contract you don’t understand.
    • Report any suspicious activity to the Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088.

    Fridges and freezers

    During the evacuation, High Level’s power supply was disrupted for about 36 hours. Some food might have spoiled in refrigerators and freezers.

    • Throw out food that is not sealed in packages or cans. Green and black bins are placed around town – please use them for spoiled food for the first 5 days, these bins will be checked and emptied daily.
    • Spoiled food products may have affected your refrigerator or freezer. Clean, sanitize and deodorize your refrigerator and freezer once you have discarded the spoiled food.
    • Contact your insurance representative to discuss your coverage if you are considering discarding your fridge or freezer.

    Garbage

    Regular pickup is not scheduled. Do not put general waste in your usual containers, instead use the green and black bins for the first 5 days.

    • If you have any questions about garbage disposal, call 780-821-4012.
    • If you see wild animals or bears, call a fish and wildlife officer at 1-800-642-3800.

    Inside cleaning

    • Wash interior walls and hard surfaced with a steam cleaner or white vinegar.
    • Wash or dry clean clothing, linens and bedding.
    • Wash all movable items with a steam cleaner or microfiber cloth – including children’s indoor toys.
    • Consider having heating, ventilating and air conditioning units and all ductwork professionally cleaned to remove soot, ash and smoke residue.
    • Keep all receipts for cleaning and other expenses to provide to your insurance company for possible reimbursement.

    Outside cleaning

    • Pressure wash or scrub all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, windows and screens.
    • Wash all children’s outside toys, play structures and recreational equipment to remove any residual smoke and ash. Replace the sand in sandboxes with clean sand.
    • Cut down and remove any trees around your property that have been damaged by fire.
    • Do not water your lawn immediately upon return to reduce pressure on the water system.

    Last updated: June 5 at 4 pm

  • Pets
    • High Level animal control collected household pets left behind. For questions regarding your pets, please call 780-926-2201.
    • For evacuees in the Wabasca area, please fill out an online form on the Alberta Animal Disaster Response Facebook group, or text 403-869-4964 and provide your name, contact number, number of animals missing, where they were last seen, and a brief description of your pet.

    For more information, read the emergency checklist for your pets.

    Last updated: June 11 at 1 pm

  • Damage assessment and insurance information

    If you are insured

    • Assess and document the damage – taking photos can be helpful.
    • Call your insurance representative and/or company.
    • List all damaged or destroyed items.
    • If possible, find proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of the damage and keep the damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.

    If you are not insured

    For information on available assistance, contact:

    Last updated: June 2 at noon

  • Health services and mental health supports

    The Northwest Health Centre in High Level is open, with all emergency, laboratory, X-ray, mental health and community health departments open. The site is expected to have remaining departments open on Wednesday and be fully fuctional.

    For health advice or information on health services, including mental health services, call Health Link at 811 or 1-866-408-5465.

    Mental health

    • AHS has supports and resources for those impacted by the Alberta wildfires.
    • Visits ahs.ca/wildfire or call the Mental Health Line 24/7 at 1-877-303-2642.

    Last updated: June 4 at 4 pm

  • Employment questions

    If you have questions about your job, contact:

    Last updated: June 2 at noon

Information for evacuees

  • Evacuation orders

    Communities under mandatory evacuation orders

    Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement

    Communities under evacuation notice

    Northern Lights County

    • 8-hour evacuation notice remains in place for:
      • Keg River, Carcajou, the Town of Manning, and from Twin Lakes Campground to the county's northern boundary.
    • Visit countyofnorthernlights.com for updates and maps.

    All other affected residents should review your family's emergency procedures and follow Alberta Emergency Alerts and 511 Alberta road reports for updates.

    Last updated: June 13 at 10:30 am

  • Evacuation reception centres

    All evacuees should register with an evacuation reception centre, even if you’ve found alternate accommodations. These reception centres are assisting evacuees either in person and/or by phone:

    Grande Prairie
    780-567-5587

    Peace River Town Hall
    9911 100 Street
    780-624-2574
    9 am to noon, Monday to Friday

    Wabasca-Desmarais Lakeview Sports Centre
    102 Opportunity Drive
    780-891-2659

    Note: All hours may be subject to change – please contact the reception centres to confirm.

    Last updated: June 13 at 1:30 pm

  • Wildfire response

    Situation update

    Wildfire efforts continue in northern Alberta where a number of out-of-control wildfires are burning. States of local emergency remain in effect. About 11,138 residents have registered at evacuation receptions centres as of June 12.

    • Chuckegg Creek wildfire, southwest of High Level, is about 270,860 hectares.
    • Jackpot Creek wildfire, located in the High Level Forest area, is about 43,977 hectares.
    • Battle wildfire Complex, located in the Peace River Forest area, is about 55,179 hectares.
    • McMillan Complex wildfire, located in the Slave Lake Forest area, is about 264,116 hectares.

    Get wildfire updates at wildfire.alberta.ca.

    Government response

    Alberta Wildfire, Alberta Emergency Management Agency and local officials are cooperating in the response. Resources include:

    Chuckegg Creek Wildfire

    • 321 wildland firefighters and staff
    • 19 helicopters and heavy equipment

    Jackpot Creek Wildfire

    • 35 wildland firefighters and staff
    • 5 helicopters

    Battle Wildfire Complex

    • 237 wildland firefighters and staff
    • 13 helicopters and heavy equipment

    McMillan Complex Wildfire

    • 351 wildland firefighters and staff
    • 42 helicopters and heavy equipment

    Additional resources from other provinces and aviation and logistical supports from Public Safety Canada are supporting the wildfire response efforts.

    Last updated: June 14 at 5:20 pm

  • States of Local Emergency

    The following communities are under a State of Local Emergency:

    • The Town of High Level, declared on May 20 at 11:15 am, renewed on June 10 at 9:30 am
    • Mackenzie County, declared on May 20 at 11:40 am, renewed on June 10 at 10:30 am
    • Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, declared on May 25 at 4:55 pm, renewed on June 10 at 3:10 pm
    • Bigstone Cree Nation, declared May 29 at 7:10 pm, renewed June 5 at 2 pm
    • MD of Opportunity, declared on May 29 at 8:20 pm, renewed on June 12 at 2:30 pm
    • Peerless Trout First Nation No. 478, declared May 31, renewed on June 6 at 2 pm

    Last updated: June 13 at 10:30 am

  • Pets and livestock

    Pets

    • For evacuees within the Wabasca area, please fill out an online form on the Alberta Animal Disaster Response Facebook group, or text 403-869-4964 and provide your name, contact number, number of animals missing, address they were last seen, and a brief description of your pet.

    Livestock

    • The County of Northern lights will allow residents to enter property to look after lifestock between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. Residents must first go to the County Office to register for the Temporary Access Pass.

    Last updated: June 4 at 4:15 pm

  • Electricity and natural gas billing

    High Level and area residential, farm, irrigation and small commercial electricity and natural gas customers affected by the mandatory evacuation order will not be billed for the period covered by the order. The mandatory evacuation order started on Monday, May 20, 2019 and ended Monday, June 3, 2019.

    Billing will resume after the order is lifted. Further information will also be available at that time.

    Last updated: June 4 at 3:00 pm

Financial, educational and social supports

  • Evacuation payments

    Alberta residents affected by the northwest Alberta wildfires may be eligible for a one-time evacuation payment to help with immediate living costs, such as accommodation, food and gas. It is not intended to replace income.

    Eligible families will receive:

    • $1,250 for each adult
    • $500 for each child under 18 living in the same home when the evacuation order was given

    Eligibility

    You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you were:

    • living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • forced to leave your residence (primary, working or vacationing) due to a mandatory evacuation order – current communities include:
      • High Level
      • Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement
      • Bushe River
      • Chateh
      • Meander River
      • Wabasca-Desmarais
      • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D
      • Sandy Lake
      • Chipewyan Lake Village
      • Keg River
      • Carcajou
      • Northern border of the County of Northern Lights to Township Road 922 (Notikewin Road)
      • Steen River
      • Trout Lake
    • paid for most of your costs to evacuate

    You are not eligible if you:

    • live in a community that was not affected by an evacuation order
    • own property in the evacuated communities but were not living there when the evacuation was ordered
    • evacuated from a community not under an evacuation order
    • had your evacuation paid for by a government agency such as a supportive living facility like a seniors lodge, nursing home, extended care facility or temporary shelter
    • had your evacuation paid for by your employer

    If you have not been evacuated from one of the communities listed above, check back for updates.

    How to apply

    Online

    Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smart phone, device or desktop.

    • Apply for yourself and your children or other dependents.
    • Provide a personal email address to receive the payment by Interac e-Transfer.

    In-person

    All payment distribution centres are closed now.

    If you need help applying, contact Alberta Supports to find the nearest centre:

    Step 1. Have identification ready

    • Adults need an Alberta issued driver’s licence or identification or other photo ID.
    • Children’s identification can include an Alberta Health number, passport, birth certificate or Alberta ID card.
    • Proof of residence or presence in the community.

    Step 2. Apply

    • Use the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment online application.
      • It will ask you to log into your MyAlberta Digital Identity (MADI) account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up through the application.
      • Write down the reference number you get at the end of the application.
      • You will see a message that says you will get a letter with a PIN number to complete your verification. You do not need to complete this step to receive your evacuation payment.

    After you apply

    • After you submit your online application you will get an email confirming it has been received. (Make sure to check your inbox and junk folder.)
    • Within a few hours, you will get another email with next steps instructions.
    • If more information is needed, you will be asked to call Alberta Supports and visit the nearest centre.

    Get help

    If you have questions about your online application, contact Alberta Supports:

    Last update: June 7 at 1:15 pm

  • Insurance information

    Living expenses

    • Most home and tenant's insurance policies provide reasonable coverage for living expenses during an evacuation. Contact your insurance company for details.
    • Keep all receipts for food, accommodation and other related living expenses to submit for possible reimbursement.

    Insurance Bureau of Canada

    Last updated: May 29, 11am

  • Employment insurance

    Employment insurance

    • Evacuees can apply online for employment insurance using reference code: 4812014812201900.
    • Service Canada staff will be at reception centres in Grande Prairie, High Prairie, Slave Lake and Peace River to help with applications.
    • Visit Service Canada for more information.

    Last updated: May 29 at 11am

  • Health services and hospital closures

    Health information

    • Health advice - Call Health Link at 811 or 1-866-408-LINK (5465) for info on health services.
    • Mental health support - Call the mental health helpline at 1-877-303-2642 if you’re stressed, overwhelmed or need to talk.
    • Medication - For health advice or information on health services, including prescription refills, call Health Link at 811 or 1-866-408-5465 for prescription refills or visit your nearest pharmacy for assistance.
    • Health cards - Replacement Health Care Insurance Cards are available at no cost, contact 780-427-1432 (for toll free, dial 310-0000 first). Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.

    Hospital closures

    High Level

    • High Level hospital is open, with all emergency, laboratory, X-ray, mental health and community health departments open. The site is expected to have remaining departments open on Wednesday and be fully fuctional.

    Fort Vermilion

    • St. Theresa General Hospital emergency department remains open.
    • Acute patients and continuing care residents have been related to health facilities in Edmonton and surrounding communities.

    La Crete

    • Acute patients and continuing care residents have been relocated to health facilities in Edmonton and surrounding communities.

    Manning

    • Manning Community Heath Centre emergency department remains open.
    • Acute patients have been relocated to health facilities in McLennan, Fairview and Beaverlodge.

    If you are trying to locate a loved one, call Health Link at 811.

    Last updated: June 4 at 4pm

  • Social services

    Assistance

    • Alberta Supports provides access over 120 government services, social benefits and community supports.
    • Call 1-877-644-9992 , Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 8 pm.

    AISH and Income Support programs

    • Evacuees who receive benefits by cheque rather than direct deposit should contact your worker to make arrangements to receive your cheque.
    • If you receive benefits by direct deposit, your payment will be deposited as usual.

    Child intervention and child care

    PDD supports

    • If you need human, financial or in-kind assistance to support persons with disabilities, contact the closest Alberta Supports Centre for assistance.

    Last updated: June 12 at 4:30 pm

  • Replace ID cards

    Driver's licence, ID cards and/or birth certificates

    • Replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent. Find a location.

    Health Care Insurance Card

    • To get a free replacement card, call toll-free at 310-0000 followed by 780-427-1432 when prompted.
    • Your new health card can be mailed to a temporary address.

    Last updated: May 25 at 2:15pm

  • School closures and exams

    All schools in the Fort Vermilion School Division will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

    Diploma exams

    • Grade 12 students in the Fort Vermilion School Division are exempt from their diploma exams. When a student is exempt from the diploma exam, their classroom mark will be their final mark.
    • Students wishing to write their exams should contact the school division.

    Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs)

    • Students in grades 6 and 9 can be excused from writing provincial achievement tests.
    • These students can still choose to write the PATs if they can safely make it to a school, either in their community or another.
    • Once students and their families have made a decision, they should contact their school division.

    Last updated: June 3 at 2:30 pm

  • Post-secondary and trades students

    Trades students

    Evacuated apprentices or journeypersons with questions can call the Apprenticeship and Industry Training information line:

    Phone: 1-800-248-4823
    Visit: tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca
    Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:15 am to 4:30 pm

    Student loans

    For questions about student loans, contact Alberta Student Aid:

    Phone: 1-855-606-2096
    Hours: Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 8:30 pm

    Last updated: May 27 at 3:30 pm

How to help

  • Offers, donations and volunteers

    Thank you for your interest in supporting the wildfire response efforts.

    Resource offers for Alberta disasters

    Please complete the Unsolicited Offers Program Form if you’d like to offer the following resources:

    • communications services or devices
    • food and water
    • equipment (generators, forklifts, lighting, signage, etc)
    • human resources (volunteers, NGO, paid personnel, etc)
    • lodging/facilities (hotels, community centres, churches, etc)
    • materials and supplies (fuel, blankets, cots, pet supplies, etc)
    • services (child care, consulting, pet care, etc)
    • transport (passenger vans, buses, aircraft, etc)

    All offers will be scanned twice daily and logged into our tracking database. You will be contacted by a Government of Alberta representative if there's an emergency requirement for your resource.

    Other donation and volunteer opportunities

    • Mackenzie County has an up-to-date list of donations needed. Visit their Facebook page for more information and drop off locations.
    • Grande Prairie is accepting offers for donations. Sign up online to offer a donation.
    • The Town of Slave Lake has also set up an online form for volunteers to sign up.
    • High Level is currently not accepting material donations or volunteers at this time.

    Consumer protections

    Watch out for fraudulent organizations.

    • There have been reports that local residents are being solicited by email or phone for donations in support of firefighters or affected residents. Do not share your personal information with them or donate money.
    • When asked for donations (either over-the-phone, through an e-mail, or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity.
    • If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization, including its fundraising practices, call Service Alberta at 1-877-427-4088.

    Last updated: June 11 at 1:30 pm

Advisories and closures

  • Road closures and travel restrictions

    Please visit 511 Alberta for detours and updates.

     

  • Fire ban and OHV restriction

    Fire bans

    Visit albertafirebans.ca for details on fire bans and restrictions.

    Alberta Parks may also have fire bans and restrictions. Visit albertaparks.ca/firebans for details.

    OHV restriction

    The recreational use of off-highway vehicles is prohibited on all public lands. Visit albertafirebans.ca for details.

    Alberta Parks may also have OHV restrictions. Visit albertaparks.ca/ohv-bans for details.

    Last updated: June 7 at 9:35am

  • Air quality

    Special air quality statement is in place for northwest Alberta. Wildfire smoke is affecting air quality in some areas.

    Visit FireSmoke Canada for information and resources about smoke from wildland fires.

    Last updated: June 9 at 11am

  • Water advisories

    Water advisories

    The boil water water advisory in Meander River is still active.

    Rescinded boil water advisories

    • North Tall Cree – rescinded May 31
    • Little Red River Cree – rescinded May 31
    • Fox Lake – rescinded on May 29
    • John D’Or Prairie – rescinded on May 29

    Last updated: June 5 at 10 am

  • School closures

    For up-to-date information on school closures related to the northern Alberta wildfires, parents can visit the Northland School Division website.

    Last updated: May 30 at 4:40pm

  • Court closures

    Court services

    • High Level Court matters have resumed in High Level.
    • Community Corrections and Release have resumed operations in High Level.
    • Chateh Court matters will be heard in High Level Court until further notice. Please contact the High Level Court at 780-926-3715 for inquiries.
    • Fort Vermilion Court matters will resume immediately, as scheduled. Please call 780-926-3715 for inquiries.
    • Wabasca Desmarais matters will continue to be held in High Prairie until further notice. Please contact the High Prairie Court at 780-523-6600 regarding any matters scheduled.

    Last updated: June 10 at 1 pm

  • Mail service

    Mail and parcel delivery in certain communities has been affected by the wildfires.

    Canada Post has contingency measures in place to serve residents of these communities.

    Check the Canada Post website for updates.

    Last updated: June 7 at 11:55am

  • Gas stations

    There may be fuel shortages in affected regions. Carry enough fuel if you’re driving through the area.

    Last updated: May 22 at 5pm

Watch wildfire updates

Situation updates

Current emergency alerts

Contact us

For help, call the Alberta government call centre at 310-4455.

Hours of operation:

  • Tuesday June 4 through Friday June 7: 8 am to 8 pm

Emergency preparedness

Wildfire preparedness

Due to hot and dry conditions, fire advisories, restrictions or bans have been issued in many regions of the province. Be prepared and take precautions.

Flood preparedness and recovery

Floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada. They can occur at any time of the year and are most often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid snow melt or ice jams.