The Wood Buffalo Complex fire now sits at 472,205 hectares as of Thursday afternoon It’s 3.4 km away from the town of Fort Smith, 2.4 km from Bell Rock Subdivision, and 2.2 km from Thebacha.
Things could get worse on Friday as winds from the southwest gusting up to 50 km/h on Friday could cause more extreme fire behaviour.
On Wednesday, the smoke was heavy but firefighters observed less active fire behaviour, according to a news release Thursday. The smoke was described as a ‘shield or dome’ that kept the temperatures lower and the relative humidity higher.
A total of 66 pieces of heavy equipment, 23 helicopters and 157 firefighters and structure protection personnel are fighting the fire, according to the release.
Crews spent the day Wednesday securing nearly 250 kilometres worth of northernmost perimeter line and also worked around the eastern finger below Fort Fitzgerald and along Hay Camp Road to extinguish hot spots.
Crews working along a containment line west of Pine Lake Road were close to reaching an active area of the fire near Fort Smith, while firefighters on the other side of the perimeter line near Highway 5 were also working towards the same goal.
Thick smoke grounded most aerial operations in the western areas of the fire, but helicopters were able to continue bucketing on the eastern side.
Spot fires near Foxholes Road and Connie’s Road are almost extinguished, but new spots were found around Foxholes and on the opposite side of a new containment line being built by dozers.