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Winds steer Alberta’s Chuckegg Creek Fire away from town

By Dr. Arindam Samanta, Kaitlyn Perham  |  May 31, 2019
Landsat image of the Chuckegg Creek Fire. Source: USGS & NASA.

The Chuckegg Creek Fire in northern Alberta, Canada, approached 570,000 acres on May 30, according to Alberta Wildfire, but favorable winds were keeping it away from the town of High Level after thousands of residents were reportedly evacuated. No damage to homes or businesses was reported, and power was restored to areas that lost electricity, the agency said.

Alberta Wildfire also reported that:

  • Gusty winds were exacerbating extreme fire behavior, but the direction of the winds helped firefighters’ efforts to keep the blaze away from populated areas
  • Controlled burns helped create a containment boundary along highways south and west of High Level and along the fire’s perimeter
  • A total of 400 firefighters and 26 helicopters from Alberta Wildfire were on the scene working with municipal firefighters, and more resources were arriving
  • Sprinklers were set up on the southwest and northwest sides of High Level to help protect the town.

Some 5,000 people were evacuated, the Edmonton Journal reported.

High Level and its surroundings are located in a transitional area between prairie and forest environments, featuring aspen and spruce trees interspersed with grassland.

Chuckegg Creek Fire analysis

FireLine®, Verisk’s wildfire risk management tool, is guiding the analysis of risk factors seen within the perimeter of the Chuckegg Creek Fire. FireLine categorized the entire fire area as at risk, with more than 99 percent at moderate or high risk.

Fuels are the main risk factor, with more than 95 percent of the area covered in fuels categorized as medium or heavy. Slopes are generally mild, and access for firefighters is good for virtually all of the fire area. View the FireLine heat map of the Chuckegg Creek Fire.


Dr. Arindam Samanta is director of product management and innovation at Verisk.

Kaitlyn Perham is a geospatial analyst at Verisk.