A helicopter drops a bucket of water on the Chuckegg Creek wildfire west of High Level, Alta., in a Saturday, May 25, 2019, handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Government of Alberta, Chris Schwarz)

‘Like burnt toast’: Wildfire destroys homes in northern Alberta settlement

The homes are widely scattered in the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement’s northeast

An official with the Metis Settlements General Council says 14 homes in a northern Alberta community have been destroyed by an aggressive wildfire, and more properties may be consumed.

Blake Desjarlais, the council’s director of public and national affairs, says fire authorities confirmed the number late Thursday after surveying the evacuated Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement.

The homes are widely scattered in the settlement’s northeast, but Desjarlais says Paddle Prairie’s hamlet is also at risk and the total number of properties destroyed could rise depending on fire conditions.

He says none of the homes was insured and it’s hoped the Alberta government will bring in modular housing to accommodate displaced owners.

The province said Thursday the Chuckegg Creek wildfire had grown to 2,300 square kilometres.

Authorities also said the number of northern fire evacuees had swelled to roughly 10,000 from about 5,000.

“It’s like a burnt piece of toast up there,” said Desjarlais as he described the path of destruction in Paddle Prairie. “The whole land has been scorched.”

About 800 people live in the settlement, which is about 760 kilometres northwest of Edmonton and has an estimated 245 houses.

READ MORE: Residents in B.C.’s wildfire zone raise cash for fire-ravaged northern Alberta

The Canadian Press

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