2023 wildfire updates

Oct. 20 – One new wildfire

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

On Oct. 19, the Slave Lake Forest Area had a small wildfire.

The Oct. 20 Slave Lake Area Wildfire Update says, “SWF143 was 0.01 hectare (ha) in size and is under control.”

This was the only new wildfire of the week. Prior to that the most recent wildfire was on Oct. 12.

As of Oct. 20, SWF141 (0.63 ha), one of the wildfires from the week before, was extinguished.

From October 14 to 20, the fire danger in the Slave Lake Forest Area fluctuated from very high to moderate. On Oct. 16, the Slave Lake Forest Area fire danger was very high. It rained that night bringing the fire danger down to moderate on Oct. 17. On Oct. 19, it returned to very high. That evening it rained, bringing it back to moderate by Oct. 20.

From January 1 to Oct. 20, the Slave Lake Forest Area has had 143 wildfires, which have burned 429,014.08 ha.

As of Oct. 20, the forest area had 10 active fires: two held and eight under control.

Two were from October SWF143 (already mentioned) and SWF138 (4 ha) from Oct. 4. Both were under control.

The other eight wildfires were large wildfires from May, June and July. Of these, the newest was SWF116 22 northwest of Chipewyan Lake. Lightning started it on July 7. It remained held at 10,670 ha. The other held fire was SWF081 at Chipewyan Lake. Lightning started it on May 14. It remained held at 33,138 ha.

Being held means that the fire is not expected to grow beyond set boundaries.

Under control is the last step before extinguished. For large wildfires, the time between being under control and extinguished can be a year or more.  

This article will be updated on October 27. In the meantime, the most up to day wildfire information is on the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard. Road closures are available at 511 Alberta. A list of active wildfire evacuations and alerts are Alberta Emergency Alerts. Once a day when the wildfire danger is high, very high, or extreme, Alberta Wildfire publishes Slave Lake Forest Area updates at https://srd.web.alberta.ca/slave-lake-area-update. For Peace River Forest Area updates go to https://srd.web.alberta.ca/peace-river-area-update. Smith, Hondo, and Flatbush are in the Lac La Biche Forest Area for updates go to https://srd.web.alberta.ca/lac-la-biche-area-update. People interested in the smoke forecast can go to firesmoke.ca.

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