A wildfire has flared up west of Edmonton in Yellowhead County, prompting a critical Alberta Emergency Alert to be issued and residents told to evacuate immediately.
A spokesperson for Alberta Wildfire said the blaze is located about nine kilometres northwest of Evansburg, north of Highway 16, and is currently moving south.
There are 28 firefighters, four helicopters, six airtankers and six pieces of heavy equipment currently fighting the wildfire, the province said.
The Alberta Emergency Alert said Evansburg and Wildwood-area residents who live along Highway 16, east of Highway 22 up to Highway 16A, are being evacuated.
Residents of the Lobstick Resort Road area are also being evacuated, the alert said.
As of 6:30 p.m., a 10-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 is closed in both directions from Highway 22 to Range Road 93. Highway 22 is closed in both directions north of Highway 16, near Evansburg, the province said.
Thick plumes of dark smoke could be seen billowing into the sky, and the province said visibility may be reduced in the area because of it.
An evacuation centre is being set up at the Evansburg Arena. The emergency information number for residents is 1-833-334-4630.
As of 4 p.m., the out-of-control wildfire was 40 hectares in size. By 7 p.m., the Alberta Wildfire status map said it had grown to 75 hectares.
The fire is in the Edson Forest Area, where a fire advisory is in effect and the wildfire danger is listed as very high.
Global News has a crew headed to the area and this story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Evansburg is about 90 kilometres west of Edmonton.
— More to come…
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