A sign greets visitors to Fort Smith. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
As temperatures cooled down and humidity increased in Fort Smith over the past two days, Fire 7 saw little growth toward the community on Tuesday, according to a Wednesday morning update from Parks Canada.
As of 10am, the update said the fire was still approximately four kilometres south of the town.
“Right now, fire behaviour is low and we haven’t seen a lot of fire growth, so that is very positive,” Adam McNab, Fort Smith’s fire chief, told Cabin Radio.
He said, however, that things can change quickly and urged people to stay out of the community.
“I don’t want to lull people into a false sense of security either. There is still an active wildfire at our doorstep that we need to contend with,” he said.
Parks Canada said 89 personnel and six helicopters are responding to wildfires in Wood Buffalo National Park.
It said a fire guard has been set up on the east side of Highway 5 near where the Salt River runs under the road.
Crews are also evaluating the possibility of carrying out micro-ignition operations near the highway to “gently bring” the fire to the pavement.
McNab said structure protection is underway and dozer guards are being placed around neighbourhoods where possible.
He added that volunteers are assisting pets at the animal shelter and people’s homes in Fort Smith.
“All of our essential services are still operating in the community to support all the operations going on,” he said.