People return home after Cold Lake First Nation fire under control

No homes damaged and residents have returned home but remain under 30 minute evacuation order.

cold lake first nation wildfire

Photo: Supplied by Cold Lake First Nation

People in Cold Lake First Nation are returning home after the community was evacuated ahead of a wildfire.
The community, which is 280 km northeast Edmonton was alerted at 4:49 p.m on Monday.

Nathan Jacknife, the director of emergency management for the nation told APTN News that the community called in help from Alberta Wildfire and surrounding communities.

“We immediately put in a request for an air resource, and it came from Lac La Biche [158 km west] in 42 minutes,” said Jacknife.

The Alberta wildfire crew came with a helicopter to help fight the fire which they worked on until 8:00 p.m. Local firefighters worked until 1:30 a.m. including people from the nearby town of Bonnyville and Frog Lake First Nation.

Cold Lake First Nation wildfire
Photo: Supplied by Cold Lake First Nation

25 homes evacuated

The total size of the fire was nearly the size of 600 football fields.
Jacknife told APTN that in total 35 homes were threatened and 25 homes were evacuated.
“We housed them to today until it was safe to return but they are on a 30-minute evacuation notice,” said Jacknife.
“We have had zero structures lost.”

Community asking Indigenous Services Canada for money

Jacknife said that he was happy with the community response to the wildfire but that Cold Lake First Nation is hoping to receive further equipment, like radios and sprinkler systems through Indigenous Services Canada.The 2024 budget announced that there was $166.2 million to support First Nations emergency management and preparedness over the next five years.

This year the federal government announced that 48 First Nations in Alberta have added a dedicated emergency management coordinator.

The community is working on procuring sprinklered units and radios. The First Nation doesn’t currently have radios which created some coordination issues.

“We are in a limited cell phone area so it was quite hard,” said Jacknife.

Firefighting and monitoring will continue until Wednesday.

There are currently 61 active wildfires in Alberta according to Alberta Wildfire.

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