The news that the giant McMillan Complex of wildfires is under control came through on Canada Day.
“That means it’s 100 per cent contained,” says information officer Leah Lovequist.
It further means authorities are pretty confident it won’t ever get out of that containment, and people in the region can rest easy. Or easier.
Mopping up efforts continue, with hundreds of people on the ground, dealing with smouldering hotspots within the perimeter. How it works is aerial infra-red scanning pinpoints where those spots are, recording their location by means of global positioning system technology. The coordinates are handed over to the ground crew leaders, who then dispatch their people to dig out and douse the hot spot. It can go on for weeks or even months.
At last report, the size of the ground forces was down to 399 people, with 25 helicopters and 29 pieces of heavy equipment still on the job.
Since March 1, the Slave Lake district has seen 130 wildfires and 274,086 hectares burned.