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Wildfires surround the county

June 15, 2023

By: Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative

The County of Grande Prairie is monitoring wildfires surrounding the county's borders. 

The Peavine Creek Wildfire crossed the British Columbia border on Thursday, June 8 near Preston Lake, and an evacuation alert was then activated. 

The Peavine Creek wildfire is burning north of the larger Bearhole Lake wildfire. 

According to BC Wildfire, the Peavine Creek wildfire is 3,269 hectares and is classified as out of control.

"Residents located north of Twp. Rd. 732, west of Rge. Rd. 131 and south of Twp. Rd. 742 to be on alert and prepare for the possibility of evacuation," said the county. 

Fire crews from the county and Horse Lake First Nation began providing structural protection in select areas and building a fire break along the border.

The weekend’s windy, dry, and hot conditions created challenges in firefighting efforts.

On Tuesday (June 13), the evacuation alert was removed due to rain and the progression of fire containment efforts. 

The county urges the public to avoid active wildfire areas and give fire crews room to work. 

“Do not visit the area out of curiosity, as any unnecessary traffic could affect first responders’ ability to conduct their work,” said County Regional Fire Chief Trevor Grant. 

County Regional Enforcement Services removed members of the public on Wednesday that were impacting firefighting efforts. 

BC Wildfire says the suspected cause of the fire is lightning.

Boone Lake Complex wildfire

The county is also monitoring Boone Lake Complex wildfire, but the fire has not crossed into the county. The Boone Lake Complex wildfire is in Saddle Hills County, approximately 20 km north of Valhalla Centre and five km north of the county’s border.

According to Alberta Wildfire, the Boone Lake Complex wildfire is made up of two fires and is a total of 7,250 hectares in size and is classified as out of control. 

Alberta Wildfire notes the fire is 75 per cent contained with control lines.

Currently, 50 firefighters are reinforcing fire guards with long-term retardant, helicopter bucketing and heavy equipment and ground resources.

County Regional Fire Services are currently staged in La Glace as it monitors Boone Lake.

Crews are working with livestock owners in the area on emergency response plans.

“Since January 1, there have been 41 wildfires in the Grande Prairie Forest Area burning over 136,000 hectares,” said Alberta Wildfire.

The county reminds residents preparing for potential evacuation to arrange accommodations, pack important documents, medications, food, and water, for one week, plan for their pets and ensure their vehicle has a full fuel tank. 

Residents are told to stay tuned to the Alberta Emergency Alerts at alberta.ca/alberta-emergency-alert.aspx and download the Alberta Emergency Alert app to mobile devices.  

A county firefighter fills a bag full of water for firefighting the Dunes West Wildfire in the County of Grande Prairie, Alta. on Friday, May 12, 2023. (File photo by Jesse Boily)