Current situation

A number of out-of-control wildfires are burning in northern Alberta. Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for:

  • Town of High Level and areas south/southeast of town
  • Dene Tha' First Nation communities of Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh

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

Last updated: May 25 at 9am

Financial 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

    Applications will open:

    • Online – Sunday, May 26 at noon (Interac e-Transfers will take up to 24 hours to go through)
    • In person – Monday, May 27 at 10 am

    Eligibility

    You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you were:

    • living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • forced to leave due to an evacuation order
    • 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

    How to apply

    Online (starting Sunday, May 26 at noon)

    • 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 (starting Monday, May 27 at 10 am)

    • If you cannot apply online, apply in-person at an evacuation reception centre:
      • Monday, May 27: 10 am to 8 pm
      • Tuesday, May 28: 8 am to 8 pm
      • Wednesday, May 29: 8 am to 8 pm
    • A debit card will be provided if you cannot receive an Interac e-Transfer.

    Step 1. Have identification ready

    • Adults need an Alberta issued driver’s licence or identification
    • Children’s identification can include an Alberta Health number, passport, birth certificate or Alberta ID card

    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 don’t 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 visit the nearest designated Alberta Supports Centre listed in the email.

    Get help

    If you need technical help with the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment online application, contact the MyAlberta Digital ID contact centre:

    Evacuation reception centres

    • Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue)
    • High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre (5413 49 Street)
    • Grande Prairie Regional College (10726 106 Avenue)
    • Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill (10408 89 Street)
    • La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete)
    • Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
    • Hay River Dene Wellness Centre (In K'atl' Odeeche First Nation, located 17 km east of Hay River)

    Last update: May 25 at 9am

  • 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 23, 11 am

  • Health services

    For health advice or information on health services, call Health Link at 811 or 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

    For mental health support, call the helpline at 1-877-303-2642 if you’re stressed, overwhelmed or need to talk.

    Medication refills or new prescriptions can be filled at St. Theresa General Hospital in Fort Vermilion (4506-46 Avenue).

    Residents who have been evacuated to other communities can visit their 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.

    Last updated: May 23 at 5:30pm

  • Social services

    Call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre to access over 120 government services and community supports.
    Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 8 pm
    1-877-644-9992

    Assistance

    • The Alberta Supports Contact Centre 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 visit your closest Alberta Supports Centre to pick up your cheque.
    • La Crete residents can pick up your cheque at the local reception centre.
    • 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.

    Education and post-secondary

    Trades

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

    Student loans

    • For student loan questions:
      • Call: 1-855-606-2096
      • Open: Monday to Friday from 7: 30 am to 8:30 pm

    Last updated: May 23 at 11 am

Information for evacuees

  • Evacuation orders

    High Level (Mackenzie County)
    A mandatory evacuation order is in place for the Town of High Level, areas south/southeast of town, and areas south of the Bushe River Reserve.

    A voluntary evacuation is in place for areas north of town and parts of Mackenzie County south of High Level.

    Dene Tha' First Nation
    A mandatory evacuation order is in place for the Bushe River Reserve, Meander River and Chateh.

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

    Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement

    A voluntary evacuation is in place for vulnerable residents.

    Last updated: May 23 at 5:30pm

  • Evacuation reception centres

    All evacuees should register with an evacuation reception centre, even if you’ve found alternate accommodations. This is so authorities can reach you if the situation changes.

    Reception centres are located at:

    Slave Lake Legacy Centre
    400 - 6 Avenue
    1-800-863-6582

    High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre
    5413 - 49 Street
    780-523-0108

    Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill
    10408 - 89 Street
    780-624-4881

    La Crete
    25411 TWP RD 1060, south of La Crete
    780-928-4447 (If you can't get through, keep trying and refrain from leaving a message. You can also call the Incident Command Centre at 780-927-3718)

    Grande Prairie Regional College
    10726 - 106 Avenue

    Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex
    5001 - 44 Avenue

    Hay River Dene Wellness Centre
    In K' atl' Odeeche First Nation, located 17 km east of Hay River
    1-867-874-2652

    Last updated: May 25 at 9am

  • Pets and livestock

    Pets

    • If you left your pet in the evacuation zone, call 780-926-2201 to have a volunteer check on your pet.

    Livestock

    • Mackenzie County has stock trailers available to assist with livestock transport. Visit highlevel.ca for more information.

    Last updated: May 21 at 5pm

  • States of Local Emergency

    The following communities are under a State of Local Emergency:

    • Town of High Level, declared on May 20 at 11:15 am
    • Mackenzie County, declared on May 20 at 11:40 am
    • Dene Tha’ First Nation declared a state of local emergency through a Band Council Resolution for the communities of Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh on May 20 at 4 pm

    Last updated: May 24 at 10:30am

  • Wildfire response

    Situation update

    Wildfire efforts continue near High Level in Mackenzie County. A state of local emergency remains in effect and approximately 5,000 residents have been evacuated.

    The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire is burning about 3 km southwest of the Town of High Level.

    • About 99,250 hectares in size
    • Winds are forecast from the east and northeast, driving the fire away from High Level and neighbouring communities
    • Continued hot, windy and dry conditions across Alberta are expected to increase fire danger in the coming days

    Government response

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

    • 261 firefighers
    • 28 helicopters
    • 154 structural firefighters
    • 8 air tankers
    • 46 pieces of heavy equipment

    Additional resources from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia are arriving daily to support wildfire response efforts.

    A successful controlled burn operation was completed on May 22 to create a fuel break between the fire and the Town of High Level.

    Last updated: May 25 at 9am

How to help

  • Donations and volunteers

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

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

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

    You will be contacted by a Government of Alberta representative if there's an emergency requirement for your product or service.

    Mackenzie County has an up-to-date list of donations needed. Visit their Facebook page for more information and drop off locations.

    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.

    Last updated: May 23 at 12:30pm

Advisories and closures

  • Water advisories

    Water advisories

    Boil water advisories have been issued for:

    • Meander River
    • John D'Or Prairie
    • Fox Lake
    • North Tall Cree (Little Red River Cree Nation

    Boil Water Advisories will remain in place until water testing is complete.

    Last updated: May 23 at 11 am

  • Fire ban and OHV restriction

    Fire bans

    Fire bans are in place across most of northern and central Alberta. Visit albertafirebans.ca for details.

    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: May 23 at 3:30pm

  • Road closures and travel restrictions

    The following highways are closed:

    • Highway 35, from 5 km south to 30 km south of High Level. Detour using Highway 697 and the La Crete ferry which is operational with wait times of approximately one hour.
    • Highway 58, from High Level to Range Road 45A south of Chateh Corner (about 90 km west of High Level). The wildfire has crossed Highway 58 about 25 km west of High Level.

    Visit 511 Alberta for updates.

    Last updated: May 22 at 5pm

  • Air quality

    A special air quality advisory was issued for most of northwest Alberta on May 20.

    Wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility.

    People with lung diseases and breathing issues should remain indoors and keep windows closed.

    Last updated: May 21 at 12pm

  • Government service closures

    Court services

    • High Level Court is closed.
    • All Fort Vermilion matters scheduled will be heard in Peace River. Call 780-624-6256 if you’re unable to appear to register your name and phone number. Matters will be held by phone if necessary.
    • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest to you. If you do not know where the nearest one is, call 780-427-3109 (for toll free, first dial 310-0000).
    • If you are an intermittent server in an evacuated area, call the Peace River Correctional Centre at 780-624-5480 (for toll free, first dial 310-0000) for direction.

    Hospital services

    • Northwest Health Centre in High Level is closed.
    • Patients have been relocated to health facilities in Fort Vermilion, La Crete, Grande Prairie and Peace River. Call 811 for information.
    • Nineteen patients that were evacuated from the Manning Community Health Centre were relocated to health facilities in McLennan, Fairview and Beaverlodge. If you are trying to locate a loved one, call Health Link at 811.
    • The emergency department at Manning Community Health Centre remains open.

    Last updated: May 24 at 10:30am

  • Mail service

    Canada Post may suspend or delay mail service due to wildfire conditions and the safety of their workers.

    Mail service has been suspended in:

    • High Level
    • Meander River
    • Chateh
    • Rainbow Lake
    • Zama City

    Mail will be held at the Edmonton depot until mail service resumes.

    Check the Canada Post website for updates.

    Last updated: May 24 at 10:30am

  • 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

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.