Winds have slowed, but 100 fires still rage around Slave Lake Alberta

Posted by Rumin Mann
May 24th, 2011

With their attention focused mainly on burned out Slave Lake, firefighters are slowly but surely snuffing out fires that have broken out across Alberta, though they still face 100 stubborn blazes.

Winds subsided to 30-50km/h in Alberta Tuesday, about half the speed of the gusts which first stoked the “inferno” that ravaged the 7,000 person community  since Sunday. Fire officials managed to strike down 15 fires, and have commanded control of 23 blazes. At 10 p.m. Monday night, 36 of the fires were considered to be out of control.

For the town of Slave Lake, it seems the worst has passed, officials said at a news conference Tuesday.

“We are beginning to transition from that immediate response phase into a recovery phase in Slave Lake,” said Colin Lloyd, of the province’s emergency management agency. “We’re now looking obviously to determine which areas of the town can be re-inhabited and connect the critical services that will enable that habitation. We will coordinate that orderly return of residents back into the town of Slave Lake, [though] I can’t give you a firm timeline on that.”

These active fires burned approximately 105,000 hectares of land — the total area burned about 1.5 times the size of Edmonton —  officials said in their update issued at 10:30 a.m. local time. In the Lesser Slave Lake area alone, 15 wildfires continue to burn out of control.

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