Man evading check point in Fox Creek evacuation zone needed helicopter rescue: RCMP

By News Staff

Alberta RCMP are seeking charges against a man who needed to be airlifted to safety after allegedly getting stranded in an evacuation zone while evading a check point near Fox Creek.

Fox Creek RCMP say they were notified Friday around 2:45 p.m. that a man was stranded northwest of the community after attempting to use a gravel road to avoid a check point.

Police say the man’s large truck became stuck in the mud while surrounded by active fire.

“Due to the active fire in the area, it was deemed unsafe for first responders to enter the area,” Fox Creek RCMP said in a news release. “A forestry helicopter attended the location and was able to air lift the male out to safety.”

An out-of-control wildfire continues to burn dangerously close to the small northwestern Alberta town, but crews are managing to keep it at bay.

The wildfire, which is more than 72,000 hectares in size, was within a kilometre of the community as of Sunday.

It is part of a pair of out-of-control blazes near Fox Creek and Little Smoky that have been dubbed “Eagle Complex.” The second blaze, west of the communities, was nearly 54,000 hectares.

Residents were told to evacuate Fox Creek May 6 and head to Whitecourt. That evacuation order was expanded Friday.

Smoky conditions caused by the two “Eagle Complex” wildfires on May 20, 2023. (Source: Alberta Wildfire/Incident Management Team)

Alberta RCMP say such incidents put “unnecessary strain” on first responders and also threaten communities.

“Alberta RCMP would like to remind the public to avoid travelling in evacuation areas whenever possible and to ensure you have plotted a safe route when traveling near areas affected by wildfires.”

Fox Creek is about 260 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

It’s not the first time this wildfire season a citizen is believed to have impeded firefighting efforts.

Last weekend, the County of Grande Prairie said a member of the public who was operating their own personal bulldozer “put themselves and crews in danger by knocking trees into the fire and nearly running over fire crews and their equipment.”

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