The town of Drayton Valley and surrounding areas of Brazeau County were ordered to evacuate late Thursday night as a wildfire in the area grew and threatened the central Alberta community.
The out-of-control wildfire is burning southeast of Drayton Valley.
All residents in the area of Township Road 484 north to Township Road 494, and North Saskatchewan River west to Range Road 80 must evacuate immediately.
The order includes the entire town of Drayton Valley.
Residents should evacuate via Highway 22 north to Highway 624, then east on that road to Tomahawk, north of Highway 759, then east again on Highway 627 towards Stony Plain.
The county said anybody that is unable to evacuate the community, a staging area is being established at Kal Tire with buses available to take people out of Drayton Valley towards Stony Plain.
If you are unable to get out of your house, please call 780-542-7777 immediately.
Heavy fire activity is expected south of Highway 22 on the river hill.
Road blocks are being set up at the following locations:
Highway 22 and Highway 620
Highway 22 and 50th Street (at the derricks)
Highway 22 and Range Road 71
The order to flee came just half an hour after more areas in the region, including the town, were put in alert to be ready to get out.
The county also declared a state of local emergency on Thursday.
As of Thursday evening, the wildfire was approximately 340 hectares in size, up from 140 in the morning.
Drayton Valley/Brazeau County fire crews and equipment are working to get the fire under control again and people are being asked to stay away from the area.
A reception centre had been set up at the MacKenzie Conference Centre (5737 45 Ave.) in Drayton Valley but with the community now being told to get out, emergency officials said more information on new reception centre(s) would be shared as soon as possible.
Follow Drayton Valley and Brazeau County social media for more updates.
Wildfire evacuation orders issued across Alberta
The wildfire broke out Wednesday afternoon just southeast of Drayton Valley, on the other side of the North Saskatchewan River.
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Initially, the wind was blowing the fire south on Wednesday evening, but a thunderstorm moved through the area around suppertime and afterwards, the winds began pushing the flames northwest. The fire then grew throughout the day Thursday.
The fire department said one structure — an outbuilding — had been lost.
Drayton Valley/Brazeau County Fire Services and Alberta Forestry were called in and a water bomber was helping.
Additional fire crews from Parkland County to the north and Wetaskiwin County to the east were also called in to help.
The area is home to several farms but fire officials said so far, no livestock have needed to be moved.
The county said no assistance or resources from the community are required at this time, either at the site of the fire or the reception centre.
A total fire ban is in effect for Brazeau County and the town of Drayton Valley.
— With files from The Canadian Press and Emily Mertz, Motorcycle accident toronto today
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