Homes evacuated in central Alberta after wildfire jumps highway

For the latest on this story, read: Evacuation order lifted as central Alberta wildfire held

The hamlet of Marlboro in central Alberta and nearby homes were being evacuated Sunday as an out-of-control wildfire encroached on the community.

RCMP said homes were being evacuated on both the north and south sides of Highway 16, as several homes were at risk.

The wildfire jumped the highway — which became impassable, RCMP said — and was burning on both sides.

A reception centre had been set up for those who have to flee their homes at the Best Western Hotel in Edson at 300 52nd Street. 

Stephanie Pollard

Drivers were being advised to avoid the area due to smoke and zero visibility.

Susan Longmore, of the Medicine Lodge Rodeo west of Marlboro, says they opened up space in their arena and back pens for animals that need shelter.

According to the Alberta wildfire website, the blaze covered 15 hectares as of 4:45 p.m. MT on Sunday.

Marlboro is a hamlet located 25 kilometres west of Edson, and 225 kilometres west of Edmonton, on the Yellowhead Highway.

The wildfire danger in much of northern Alberta was rated as extreme on Sunday, with the risk rated as high to very high in the central-west part of the province.

Fire bans were in place in northern Alberta, and the Edson forest area was under a fire advisory as winds and dry conditions were expected to cause the risk of wildfire to increase.

Another out-of-control fire was raging west of High Level. The fire covered 25,000 hectares, and was expected to grow Sunday.

Highway 35 had been closed south of the town, and Alberta Emergency Alert cautioned that parts of the town could lose power. Residents were told to be prepared to leave in case the situation worsened.