Wildfire no longer poses an immediate threat to northern Alberta community

A forest fire outside Janvier in northern Alberta no longer poses an immediate threat to the community.

The hamlet 120 kilometres south of Fort McMurray has been on evacuation alert since Wednesday but fire fighting efforts have kept the flames from encroaching, says Alberta Wildfire information officer Leah Lovequist.

Lovequist said a fire break has been constructed around 70 per cent of the wildfire’s edge, and six helicopters have been bucketing hotspots and soaking around the wildfire.

An aerial photo shows the blackened, scorched and smouldering forest outside Janvier.

(Charlie Brockman/ CBC News Graphics)

Even though the flames aren’t apparent, the fire will remain classified as out of control until firefighters believe they have  a handle on it both above and below the ground, Lovequist said, 

Although Alberta Forestry says the fire is not a threat, the municipality still urges residents to be prepared to leave.

The fire danger level in the Lac La Biche area remains at high; in Fort McMurray, the danger level is classes as extreme due to dry conditions and minimal rain.

On Friday, the province issued a ban on off-highway vehicles for most of northern Alberta in the protected forest areas beginning at the southern boundary of Big Lakes County, in the town of Peace River, extending to the border of Wood Buffalo National Park and the Northwest Territories, and in the Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray areas.

Off-highway vehicle use is still permitted on private land.

Fire bans also continue in this same area, prohibiting backyard fire pits, campfires, charcoal briquettes, turkey fryers, torches, exploding targets and fireworks are banned.

Propane fire pits, gas stoves or propane barbecues can still be used in communities and in back country and camping areas. 

Connect with David Thurton, CBC’s Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or email him at david.thurton@cbc.ca

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