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More Albertans told to evacuate as fires threaten hamlets and rural residents

Strong winds and very dry fuel were the main reasons this wildfire spread so quickly
The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Residents of a hamlet approximately 80 kilometres west of Edmonton have been ordered to evacuate due to an encroaching grass fire.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

More Albertans are being told to evacuate, or to be ready to flee to safety at a moment’s notice, as multiple grass and brush fires grow in areas west and northwest of Edmonton.

RCMP on Sunday afternoon asked people living in a rural area southeast of Barrhead, Alta., between Township Road 592 and 594, and Range Road 15 and 24, to evacuate immediately as police assist local fire departments with an out-of-control fire.

Others residing within about three kilometres north of the area need to be on 15-minute “ready to leave” warning, police say.

About 90 kilometres southwest, a series of grass fires that prompted the evacuation of the hamlets of Entwistle and Evansburg as well as the Lobstick Resort late Saturday and early Sunday continue to burn out of control.

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

The province says in a wildfire information update that additional firefighters and air tankers have been requested for a 330-hectare blaze burning about nine kilometres south of Evansburg, and that two fires burning north of Highway 16 on both sides of Highway 22 are now about 3,000 hectares combined.

“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.

“Today, we will have additional heavy equipment and three helicopters assisting firefighters on the line. Both Yellowhead County and AB Wildfire will work together to contain the spread.”

The update noted strong winds and very dry fuel were the main reasons this wildfire spread so quickly. It reported that fire behaviour Sunday morning was quiet but was expected to increase near noon.

The Canadian Press