Town devastated, fires out of control in Alberta
Fires burn Sunday in Slave Lake, Alberta, northwest of Edmonton.
May 17th, 2011
09:49 AM ET

Town devastated, fires out of control in Alberta

Thousands of residents of Slave Lake, Alberta, were awaiting word Tuesday on when they could return to the town they fled two days earlier when wind-whipped wildfires tore through it, destroying hundreds of buildings.

At least 7,000 left the town, 155 miles northwest of Edmonton, when flames picked up Sunday afternoon, according to news reports.

No injuries have been reported. But more than a third of the town's residences had burned as well as the town hall, library and other government buildings, according to reports. Schools and the hospital survived, but essential services were damaged or knocked out. The provincial government said water in Slave Lake was not suitable for drinking or bathing until further notice.

The town's residents were scattered in shelters or with friends or relatives around the province. People in shelters were told they would not be allowed back into Slave Lake for three or four days, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee said her community was devastated, according to an Edmonton Journal report. "I've never seen anything like this before. It's going to take a while to rebuild our community," the Journal quoted her as saying. "It's heart-wrenching as people lose their homes, their livelihood."

The two fires that brought destruction to Slave Lake remained out of control late Monday, provincial officials reported. Around Alberta, there were 115 wildfires burning, with 36 of those out of control, the province said on its website.

The communities of Loon Lake and Chisolm were also under evacuation orders, and evacuation advisories were issued for other areas. About 2,000 oil workers were evacuated from sites north of Fort McMurray, according to the government.

More than 1,000 firefighters were battling the blazes, and reinforcements were on the way from outside Alberta, the government said.

Almost 415 square miles of Alberta had burned, the province reported.

The CBC said there was a possibility of rain for Alberta on Tuesday through Thursday, but it was unlikely to be heavy enough to have much of an effect on the fires.

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Filed under: Canada • Fire • Natural Disasters
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Corbin R. Fields

    Check out SparkRelief.com they help out displaced homeowner find homes while the fires Rage. They are looking for people on the ground or donation, please check the organizations out. Doing great things for disaster relief efforts around the world.

    May 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wally

    @Nicki: you know everything don't you. I'm sure you know how to suc dic moron

    May 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rey

    canadian genius. the winds are blowing the smoke up to Grande Prairie and dawson creek B.C. when I woke up this morning my room was so hazy with smoke, I dont even want my kids playing outside today. If any of you want to know the whole story on how things are going up here google cbc edmonton or ctv edmonton. there are tons of photos and everything. im about 2 hours north west of slave lake but I have a few friends who live there that were evacuated and are now in edmonton till they know if they have a home to go back to.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nicki

    @wally wow what an intelligent comeback! why dont you and fred sit across from each other and roll poop balls back and forth?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fred

    Yes wally you may play with my poop. .im suure you would like to suc MY dic!! which gaystate do you live in? i will move there cha ching!

    May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. boog

    Thats sounds like a nice area

    May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yawn

    Is it naptime?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. meee

    Eeiieeiiooo!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BLT

    Summa dees posters sure think dare poop don stink. Summa da weeman think days smart. Day jus love to gabble tuh hear demselbs.

    May 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Allan

    I am in Slave Lake atm sleeping in my office while I fight the fire. I lost my house and my wife got out 20 mins before it burned. The winds were blowing and the waves were too high to work the bombers and the airport ws smoked out. I was in the town through the whole thing. We did all we could but you can't stop the wind. For those who say they know better you don't. It was like the best war movie you ever seen but it wasn't because it was our town.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
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