HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — Despite heavy smoke, officials say a lighter wind out of the northeast has allowed for great progress on reining in a wildfire that's forced thousands of people from their homes in northern Alberta.
Authorities say the Chuckegg Creek fire remains out of control as it churns about three kilometres south of High Level, but favourable weather on Tuesday allowed crews to protect power poles west and south of the community.
The blaze has eaten its way through about 800 square kilometres of timber, with the main area of spread on the northwest side away from town.
Officials say crews using heavy equipment are making progress on a fire guard around High Level and parts of the fire perimeter.
Nearly 5,000 people were cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nations on the long weekend when flames were licking at the southern edge of the town, about 750 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
The fire has been rated at a Level 6 — the most intense rating on the scale — which means flames are jumping from treetop to treetop in the tinder dry region.
The Canadian Press