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Several fire bans in place across Central Alberta

Bans in place in both Red Deer and Red Deer County
On Saturday, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Evansburg and Entwistle due to wildfires in the area. Hot and dry weather is causing many communities across the province to issue fire bans and restrictions. (Photo by the Canadian Press)

Red Deer and Red Deer County are the latest regions in Alberta to declare a fire ban.

In a release Monday morning, the county said that all outdoor fires presently burning whether set with permission or under permit of the County, be extinguished immediately, and the ignition of all new outdoor fires are prohibited, and no new fire permits will be issued.

Fires that are contained within cooking and heating appliances and which are fueled by propane or natural gas are permitted as well as fires contained within industrial facilities for operational purposes, approved Gas/Propane fueled fire pits/stoves/barbecues and catalytic or infrared-style heaters.

Red Deer issued a similar ban of its own at noon Monday, due to dry conditions and high temperatures.

In the release, they noted Red Deer Emergency Services encourages residents to take extra caution to prevent fires.

“Proper disposal of smoking materials is very important as many fires are started by individuals throwing them out a window or discarding them in plants,” the city stated.

Fire bans are in Ponoka, Ponoka County and Rimbey.

Lacombe County issued a fire directive of its own Monday, enacting a fire restriction due to expected warm temperatures and increased wind speeds. The county cancelled current fire permits and has suspended any fire permit requests.

“We ask that ALL fires are extinguished until conditions improve,” the county stated in a release.

Safe wood campfires, portable propane fire pits, gas or propane stoves and barbecues, catalytic or infrared-style heaters are all still permitted.

Fire restrictions are in place in the County of Wetaskiwin and Camrose County.

Communities under fire advisories include Rocky Mountain House forest area, Clearwater County, Drumheller, Trochu and the Town of Bashaw.

On Saturday, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Evansburg and Entwistle.

RCMP on Sunday afternoon had asked people living in a rural area southeast of Barrhead to evacuate immediately as police assisted local fire departments with an out-of-control fire. Others residing within about three kilometres north of the area needed to be on a 15-minute “ready to leave” warning, police said.

Hours later, police said those people could return to their homes, but several mandatory evacuation orders remained in effect about 90 kilometres to the southwest due to fires that began Saturday and continued to spread on Sunday.

The hamlets of Entwistle and Evansburg as well as the Lobstick Resort remained evacuated as separate fires in the vicinity of the communities continue to burn out of control.

“Our fire crews are working hard to get this wildfire under control. Our top priority is the safety of our residents and first responders,” Parkland Fire Chief Brian Cornforth said in a statement about a 330-hectare blaze burning about nine kilometres southeast of Evansburg.

“Thank you to all those who have followed the mandatory evacuation order, we appreciate your patience and assistance so we can get everyone back home safe as soon as possible.”

Parkland County says RCMP and Peace Officers are patrolling the evacuation area and maintaining site security.

The province said in a wildfire information update that additional firefighters and air tankers had been requested for the fire that’s south of the hamlets.

Another two fires west of the communities that began Saturday north of Highway 16 on both sides of Highway 22 had combined and were about 3,000 hectares total.

The update said that fire is burning in a mixture of grass, shrub, trees and marsh.

“Last night, dozers were on the fire line building containment lines. Early this morning, firefighters used hand ignition techniques to burn off and remove some of the available fuel to re-enforce existing containment lines,” the update said about the fire burning north of Highway 16.

-With files from the Canadian Press