Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has activated the Emergency Management Cabinet Committee as wildfires rage on throughout the province and several counties are under evacuation orders.
The committee will meet Friday afternoon, just hours after Smith said there were 79 active wildfires in the province. That includes 19 out of control fires, 25 fires resulting from human activity, and another five fires caused by lightning. The other fires are still under investigation.
“I’m asking all Albertans to please remain safe, vigilant, and refrain from activities that could cause new fires,” Smith tweeted Friday morning.
Multiple counties are under critical evacuation orders, including Brazeau County, Drayton Valley, areas northeast of Athabasca County. Parts of Lac Ste Anne County, Leduc County, Yellowhead County, Parkland County, and Cold Lake First Nation are also under evacuation orders.
Several advisories are in place, meaning residents are being warned to prepare to take action.
Both Smith and Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis, the committee vice chair, have been briefed by department officials on the fires. Department officials will provide daily technical briefings as the situation is ongoing.
Cabinet is being kept up to date on the wildfires, as is Opposition Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley, per Smith’s request, the premier’s office said in a news release.
“Cabinet continues to have decision-making abilities to deal with emergency decisions,” the release reads.
“This is a very serious ongoing situation, and Alberta’s government will continue to monitor and provide Albertans with the most up-to-date information.”
Albertans can stay up to date on the Alberta Emergency Alert site.