The Chuckegg Creek Fire in Northern Alberta near the town of High Level was very active over the last 48 hours while being pushed by strong winds. Exhibiting extreme fire behavior, it grew to the south about 11 miles, and while moving 12 miles to the east it crossed Highway 35 and jumped the Peace River both north and south of the ferry crossing on Highway 697.
Alberta Wildfire estimated it has burned 230,000 hectares, or 568,000 acres.
Below is an excerpt from an update by Alberta Wildfire about the Chuckegg Creek Fire, issued May 30, 2019:
The Chuckegg Creek Fire experienced extreme fire behaviour yesterday with significant growth to the south towards Paddle Prairie, across Highway 35 by Highway 697 and spotted across the Peace River. Continued hot and dry conditions along with variable, gusty winds have proved a challenge to firefighting efforts and safety. Municipal firefighters and heavy equipment responded, with structure protection established as possible to the south of the fire. The fire also experienced growth to the west and continued fire activity on the north part of the fire around Watt Mountain.
Firefighters, heavy equipment, and aircraft are assessing the situation given the recent fire growth and will focus on priority areas. Structural protection and municipal firefighters are working to protect values. The weather forecast today anticipates cooler temperatures and higher minimum relative humidity, though winds today are expected to remain gusty and are expected to come primarily from the north.
I believe that the fire started during the week of May 12. It reached the 100,000-acre threshold to become a “megafire” on May 20. Now that it has easily grown to 568,000 acres, I wonder if it will reach a million acres to become a “gigafire”. A bushfire that started October 11, 2018 in Western Australia 120km southeast of Broome burned 880,000 hectares, or 2,174,527 acres.
The weather for the next seven days at the fire’s location will be variable, with a chance of rain on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday of next week, so there will not be many days conducive to explosive fire growth.