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Published online at CTVEdmonton.ca on May 13, 2012.


Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: Sunday, May 13, 2012

Firefighters spend weekend battling wildfire near Drayton Valley

Firefighters spent the weekend trying to a contain a wildfire burning near the Lodgepole community located southwest of Drayton Valley.

The wildfire prompted evacuation warnings by RCMP. Residents in the area of Lodgepole were placed on standby for short notice of evacuation Saturday night.

The province says firefighters, helicopters, water bombers and air tankers worked through Saturday night and into Sunday to fight the fire. Crews were able to establish safe guards in some areas.

More firefighters arrived in the area Sunday.

There is heavy smoke in the area of Lodgepole and into Drayton Valley.

“We are doing structural assessments on buildings and if we need to, we’ll be setting up the proper protection on those residences,” Barry Shellian with SRD Clearwater Region said Sunday.

“Overnight we built over 4 kilometres of dozer guard with heavy equipment and we have the fire 70 per cent contained.”

The wildfire was burning west of Range Road 91 in the Lodgepole community, travelling in a northeast direction beginning Saturday.

It was just two hectares in size when it was first spotted but grew to nearly 350 hectares as it burned into Sunday.

Road blocks have been placed leading into Lodgepole at Hwy 620 and Range Road 85.

An emergency operations centre has been activated in Brazeau County.

Lodgepole is located about 130 kilometres southwest of Edmonton and 30 kilometres southwest of Drayton Valley.

The SRD say there have been 284 fires in the province so far this year, all of which have been human-caused and therefore preventable.

With files from Amanda Anderson

Click here to read the article on the CTV Edmonton website.