Fire near Hwy. 88 the season’s biggest

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

A wildfire north of Red Earth Creek last week grew into the biggest faced so far this year, reaching 320 hectares in size before the weather changed in favour of suppression efforts.
The fire was started by ‘holdover’ lightning. First reported on June 25 at 120 hectares, the fire had tripled in size by the next morning and was still burning out of control. It was located five kilomertres east of Hwy. 88, about 42 km north of Red Earth Creek. No dwellings were being threatened at the time, said Wildfire Info Officer Leah Lovequist in her daily update.
A couple of days later the status of the fire was downgraded to ‘being held,’ which means it was not expected to grow. Lovequist says the air tankers were “very successful,” in dealing with it, and left behind over 50 firefighters on the ground to mop up.
It has been a fairly quiet season so far in the Slave Lake forest protection district. There had been 49 fires, but only 169 hectares total burned as of June 25. The above fire doubles that total.
Then on June 26, another lightning storm moved through the area, starting 11 more fires. Most were quite small, but a couple in the vicinity of Otter Lakes took off. As of the update the following morning, one had reached 100 hectares and the other was at 60 and they were getting rained on.
Otter Lakes are located north of Little Buffalo, or about 30 kilometres ENE of Red Earth Creek.

Fires 51 and 52, near Hwy. 88, north of Red Earth Creek.
Photos courtesy Alberta Ag & Forestry

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