Alberta offers emergency payments for evacuees, calls for trained volunteers to help battle wildfires

As thousands of Albertans remain displaced due to the threat of fast-burning wildfires that continue to be fuelled by unforgiving weather, some evacuees will be allowed to return home Monday.

Premier to deliver update on wildfire situation at 3 p.m. Watch it live here

A giant plume of smoke is seen from above.

Some Albertans forced to flee their homes will be allowed to return Monday, as the threat of more than 100 wildfires continues to threaten communities across the province.

Residents forced to evacuate from the west-central town of Edson, along with evacuees of Big Lakes County in northern Alberta, are being allowed to return home, under caution that conditions across the province remain volatile.

About 30,000 Albertans have been displaced from their homes. As of Monday morning, the situation across the province remains volatile with 105 active wildfires, including 21 that continue to burn out of control.

Evacuation orders for Edson, population 8,000, have been lifted as of 8 a.m. MT Monday, Yellowhead County said on social media.

Residents are only being allowed to return to some areas of the county as conditions remain tinder-dry and classified as extreme.

The county said services such as gas stations and pharmacies should reopen soon, but residents should be prepared for a reduction in services. A water ban remains in place in Edson.

See some of the damage done by Alberta's wildfires

2 hours ago

Duration 0:28

People around the small community of Shining Bank, Alta., are facing major losses on Monday as the province battles more than 100 active wildfires.

In Big Lakes County, east of High Prairie, a mandatory evacuation order issued last week was downgraded on Sunday to an evacuation alert. Residents can return home but should be prepared to leave within an hour.

Returning residents are being cautioned about the ongoing dangers as the risk of wildfire remains high due to isolated ground fires, which threaten to flare with changing winds.

Highway 749 remains closed due to downed power lines. Many properties in the county have no electrical power or natural gas services.

Alberta is under a provincial state of emergency as the province seeks more funding and manpower to manage what Premier Danielle Smith has described as an unprecedented crisis.

The province has welcomed additional firefighters from across the country, including crews from Ontario and Quebec.

On Monday, Smith has a scheduled call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 12:30 p.m. MT.

Smith and Mike Ellis, Alberta's minister of public safety and emergency services, are expected to provide an update later this afternoon on the provincial emergency response.

The news conference is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. MT. Watch it live here.

Alberta wildfires force thousands from their homes

13 hours ago

Duration 2:45

Alberta is under a state of emergency as over 100 wildfires burn across the province, forcing more than 30,000 people from their homes.

With so many communities facing the threat of encroaching flames, the damage has been difficult to quantity but some properties have been lost.

In Fox Lake, about 550 kilometres north of Edmonton, the province said a 4,400-hectare wildfire destroyed 20 homes, an RCMP detachment, a store and the community's water treatment plant.

So far this year, 348 wildfires have burned more than 25,000 hectares across the province.

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