High Level Forest Update


Courtesy: Alberta Wildfire

High Level Forest Area Wildfire Update – May 31, 2023 as of 11:30 a.m.

By Victoria Ostendorf, May 31, 2023 11:19:02 AM


The wildfire danger is very high in the High Level Forest Area. The fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction remain in effect. To report a wildfire please call 310-FIRE(3473).

LRRC firefighters_Chief Conroy
Little Red River Cree Nation firefighters working together on a hotspot within the community of Fox Lake on the Paskwa fire. May 31, 2023.
Volunteers, equipment owners/operators or firefighters looking to assist with these wildfires or any of the wildfires within the province can contact EmergencySupportOffers@gov.ab.ca

There are five wildfires in the High Level Forest Area. Of these fires, two are classified as out of control (OC) and three are under control (UC). To see a map of the wildfires in the High Level Forest Area and across the province please click here.

THE LONG LAKE FIRE | HWF036 | MAY 31, 2023 AS OF 11:30 AM

This fire is located in the vicinity of the Town of Rainbow Lake. This wildfire is classified as out of control (OC) with a last recorded size of 134,574 hectares.

With the return of warmer temperatures, the fire has seen an increase in fire activity. Most of the fire activity observed yesterday was on the southwest, south and northeast side. There were green islands of unburnt forest burning within the fire perimeter. As of this update, this wildfire is approximately 10 km from the community of Chateh. 

Firefighters, heavy equipment and aircraft continue to reinforce the east side guard to prevent spread to the community of Chateh and other infrastructure. In addition, crews and heavy equipment have begun working on the south and southwest side.

Firefighters’ top priority is the safety of the Town of Rainbow Lake, the community of Chateh and oil and gas and energy infrastructure. Wildland firefighters and wildland urban interface crews continue to monitor and patrol properties and the structures within the Town of Rainbow Lake, the community of Chateh and the Silver Tip Open camp until evacuation orders are rescinded, power lines re-energized and communications are re-established.

There are 100 firefighters, 10 helicopters and heavy equipment working on the Long Lake Fire. Structural protection crews will continue protecting structures within the area as the wildfire situation evolves. 

The Town of Rainbow Lake has an evacuation order in place.

Dene Tha First Nation has an evacuation order in place for the community of Chateh.  

Please stay informed by downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert mobile app or by visiting their website.

Weather Forecast | Long Lake Fire 

Today the forecast is as follows, a temperature of 19 degrees, a relative humidity of 25 percent with southwest winds 15 km/h gusting to 30 km/h.

THE PASKWA FIRE | HWF030 | MAY 31, 2023 AS OF 11:30 AM

The Paskwa fire is located in the community of Fox Lake and was detected on May 2, 2023. This fire is classified as Out of Control (OC) and the last recorded size is 78,125 hectares. 

Winds were light yesterday, and fire behaviour moderate. Heavy smoke limited visibility for most of the day but crews on the ground made good progress.

One of the top priorities is to protect the community of Garden River. Yesterday evening, weather and fire conditions were favourable for a planned ignition. An area between the Peace River and the northeastern edge of the fire was ignited using a heli-torch. Removing forest fuels in this area helps prevent fire spread north towards the community of Garden River. Over the next few days, crews will continue work in this area to remove fuels and extinguish hot spots, to keep the fire south of the Peace River.

In Garden River, structural protection crews continued work on the high-volume water system and additional sprinkler systems. Structural fire fighters remain on stanby in the community, ready to respond if needed.

A top priority is keeping the Paskwa Fire south of the Peace River. Fire crews continue to monitor for fire activity along the Peace River and are responding with ground crews and helicopter support as required

Through ongoing collaboration between Alberta Wildfire and the Little Red River Cree Nation, 30 additional LRRCN wildland firefighters were added to daytime operations in Fox Lake. Most of the fire crews working in the community are from Fox Lake, John D’Or and Garden .

In Fox Lake, work continues to assess and remove danger trees, and to extinguish 76m (250 ft) perimeters around all structures in the community. There are still many hot spots throughout the community, often burning deep in the ground. Due to the continued dry conditions, smoke is being seen from these hotspots. With those and other fire-related dangers, the area is still not safe for residents to return. The Incident Management Team is working closely with Little Red River Cree Nation’s Chief and Council, and the Alberta Emergency Management Association to ensure safe access for scheduled community visits by residents as well as for utility and emergency management personnel.

Crews continue work along the southwest perimeter, extending the fire guard by extinguishing an area 30m wide along the line to prevent fire spread. Heavy equipment will also be used to establish fire guards along the southern perimeter. Ground crews are extinguishing hot spots along the southeastern perimeter with support from helicopters bucketing.

There are currently 193 personnel supporting the Paskwa Fire response including wildland and structural firefighters, incident management staff, heavy equipment operators, and Paskwa Fire Base support staff, as well as 11 helicopters dedicated to the Paskwa fire. Three additional heavy helicopters have been supporting fire operations over the last few days.

Little Red River Cree Nation has an evacuation order in place for the community of Fox Lake. The community of Garden River remains on an evacuation alert. For information regarding the evacuation, please stay informed by visiting the Little Red River Cree Nation’s Facebook page.

Weather Forecast | Paskwa Fire 

Today the forecast is as follows, a high of 22 degrees, a relative humidity of 15 percent, with southwest winds 10 km/h.

Smoke from wildfires may hang low to the ground at night and into the early morning due to temperature inversions. A temperature inversion is when warm air “caps” cooler air, causing smoke to be trapped in valley bottoms at night and into the early morning. The trapped smoke generally begins to lift after the sun rises and heats the earth’s surface. Inversions can be very dangerous for road conditions and surrounding communities. Visibility can be limited. 
Due to the numerous wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia, smoky conditions will persist. Visit www.firesmoke.ca  to see where the smoke is coming from and to view wildfires on a map, download the AB Wildfire App or visit the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard.
If you see smoke that is causing safety concerns to road conditions, please report to Alberta 511Individuals experiencing smoke related health issues can contact Alberta Health. To see a map showing the smoke forecast please click here. 
Fire Ban wide
OHV Restriction banner
A fire ban and OHV restriction is in effect within the High Level Forest Area due to extreme fire danger. The fire ban and OHV restriction will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Under this fire ban:

•All existing Fire Permits are suspended (or cancelled)

•No new Fire Permits will be issued 


•All outdoor wood fires are banned, including wood campfires on public lands, wood campfires on private land and provincial campgrounds

•Backyard firepits

•BBQ charcoal briquettes 

•The use of fireworks and exploding targets

•The recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) on public lands, including designated OHV trails


•Propane/natural gas-powered appliances

•Open flame oil devices (e.g., turkey deep fryers, tiki torches)

•Indoor wood fires contained within a device with a chimney and spark arrestor

•All appliances must be CSA approved and used per manufacturer’s standards 

•Indigenous people when using an OHV for traditional purposes. Traditional purposes are hunting, fishing, and trapping – including the use of an OHV to travel to the location(s) for these purposes.

•Essential industry-related activities requiring the use of OHVs.

•Off-highway vehicle use is still permitted on private lands. 

Drones Message


The use of recreational drones over wildfires in Alberta is dangerous, illegal and could result in a fine of up to $15,000* for putting aircraft and people at risk. Please give Alberta firefighters the space they need to do their jobs safely.

*Transport Canada


A provincial state of emergency has been declared. Albertans who require assistance can call 310-4455 for wildfire related information.

Preparing in advance can keep you safe and comfortable, and help you get back to your normal life and work more quickly. It also helps others because emergency responders can focus on helping those who need it the most.
Connect with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-9000
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)


Download the Alberta Wildfire app today and get access to accurate, real-time information on wildfires in your area. You can also find information on fire advisories, restrictions and bans across the province and much more all on your mobile device. Available for Apple and Android.

Before heading out, please check albertafirebans.ca to determine whether there are any fire advisories, fire restrictions or fire bans in effect for your destination. 

Subscribe to the High Level Forest Area Update to receive an email when new information is posted. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.


Volunteers, equipment owners/operators or firefighters looking to assist with these wildfires or any of the wildfires within the province can contact EmergencySupportOffers@gov.ab.ca

There are multiple EVACUATION ORDERS & ALERTS in the Province. Please visit Alberta Emergency Alerts or your community webpage for more information.

For road closure information, please visit: 511.alberta.ca 

Wildfire smoke is a tool used for the location of smoke firesmoke.ca

To see all the wildfires burning in Alberta click here.