Dunes West Wildfire Update #16 | 10:30 a.m. | Crews strengthen perimeters in anticipation for challenging weather conditions  

Date: May 10, 2023
Location: County of Grande Prairie, Active Emergencies, Beaverlodge, Clairmont, Grande Prairie, Hythe, Sexsmith, Wembley


Additional resources in place today will support the response to the Dunes West Wildfire.  

Crews are focused on strengthening the perimeter in advance of challenging conditions this week.  

Dunes West Wildfire Status  

The wildfire continues to burn out-of-control. The estimated size has been updated to 1,464 hectares.  

We apologize for reporting incorrect data regarding the Dunes West Wildfire. In our previous update, we stated that the estimated size was 4,700 hectares. This number is incorrect due to a mistake in converting hectares to acres. The total estimated size of the area is 1,464 hectares. We understand the importance of accurate reporting and will take measures to prevent similar errors from occurring in the future. 

The fire has been most active along the riverbanks in areas with steep terrain that have dense vegetation, which makes powerful fuel for the fire. Although the 1,464 hectares are mostly smoldering and less smoke and flames are visible, the fire is still actively burning. Increased temperatures and wind gusts can lead to flames flaring quickly and conditions are changing rapidly.  

Overnight, drones identified hot spots in the fire area so crews on the ground could quickly action suppression efforts. Today, crews are focused on reinforcing fire guard lines to strengthen the perimeter. Spray foam will be used to push in the outer 30 meters of the fire’s edge. Six helicopters will be in the air today, with continued bucketing of targeted areas. Hotspots along the riverbank are also being targeted. Protection of structures using sprinklers continues.  

Cooler temperatures have been helpful in the firefight but it is critical responders and support staff remain vigilant. Conditions are being closely monitored today, as thunderstorms and high temperatures in the weather forecast are anticipated to cause hot, dry conditions as well as high-pressure systems that may cause aggressive fire behaviour and a challenging firefighting situation. 

Residents are urged to be prepared for the situation in case the fire escalates and to stay tuned to Alberta Emergency Alerts. 

The evacuation orders and alerts remain unchanged.  

Residents can view the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard at https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/8d86d267dcf44ad085a11939186f3d3a  

Assessing Damages  

A preliminary damage assessment identified the most heavily impacted areas as Riverview Pines Estates with three homes lost and Spring Creek Estates with one home lost. Other subdivisions in the evacuation order sustained property damage including The Banks at Spring Creek, Deer Ridge, Deer Run, Dunes West, Mystic Ridge, Park Meadows, and Wapiti Heights Estates.  

Crews from ATCO Gas and Electric and GP Networks began assessing damage yesterday, as well as Aquatera Utilities started flushing lines. Employees from Alberta Health and municipal safety code inspectors will also be working in the area today to continue the initial assessment.  

Although work has begun, it will take time to complete the formal assessment. 

Local Farmers Called to Disc or Seed Land 

Local farmers with land between Township Road 710 and 712, within*the evacuation area are called to disc and seed land to add an additional barrier and protection against the fire. Discing or seeding land helps slow the spread of wildfire by turning up soil and burying fuel sources. 

Local farmers in the area can call the County of Grande Prairie’s Agricultural Fieldman, Sonja Raven, at 780-876-6936. 

*This was previously reported as north of the evacuation zone, however it is partially within the evacuation alert and order areas.   

Temporary Access Permits 

To date, 136 temporary access permits have been approved. 

Evacuees who had a Temporary Access Permit denied can reapply. The denial would have been based on the current condition at the time of the application. 

Approved permits are for one temporary access. Evacuees will need to reapply to have temporary access again. 

There is currently a backlog of permit applications that are being processed as quickly as possible. 

Donations, Supply and Volunteer Sign Up 

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership (GPREP) and our efforts to provide assistance to those affected by emergencies and disasters in our region. There are many ways to provide support to those currently affected by the wildfires in the region including through food donations, supply and equipment donations and volunteer services.  


The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre (10507 98 Avenue) is accepting donations for food, clothes and other household items seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.   

Questions: Alberta | Grande Prairie Friendship Centre | Grande Prairie (gpfriendshipcentre.org) 

Supply and Volunteer Sign Up   

If you would like to offer resources such as equipment, supplies or volunteer services, please fill out the web form here https://www.gprep.ca/2023-wildfire-donation-offer-form/     

When you submit the form, an automatic reply will be sent to confirm receipt of your message.   

Monetary Donations 

Financial donations can be made to the Northwestern Alberta Emergency Response Fund through the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.  

Donations can be made online here https://cfna.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=1465 or cash and cheques can be dropped off from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday or mailed to Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta at Centre 2000 (#200, 11330 106 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 7X9). 

Financial Assistance 

There are now over 957 evacuees registered at the Bonnetts Energy Centre. 

The Government of Alberta has announced emergency funding support for any Albertan who has been evacuated under mandatory order for seven consecutive days or more. 

Eligible evacuees will receive $1,250 per adult and an additional $500 per dependent child under 18 years. Evacuees can apply for the payment at alberta.ca/emergency using an Alberta.ca Account

Funds can take up to 24 hours to flow into accounts and will be disbursed via e-transfer. Evacuees who are unable to receive an e-transfer or who cannot apply online can contact 310-4455 for assistance and to make alternate payment arrangements. 

Area Residents Reminded to Be Prepared 

The most effective way for residents and businesses outside of the evacuation area is to FireSmart your property. 

Officials are requesting that homeowners, businesses, and industry review their properties and take some proactive steps to protect them in the event of a wildfire. Simple steps like yard maintenance can make a huge difference. Read more at FireSmart | Alberta.ca.  

Learn more about wildfire preparedness at: alberta.ca/wildfire-preparedness.aspx. 

Call Centre and Reception Centre Updated Hours 

The Call Centre is operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Reception Centre is operating 24/7.  

Any evacuees requiring support may attend the Bonnetts Energy Centre located at 10017 99 Avenue in Grande Prairie.  

The Dunes West Wildfire Information Line is available at 1-825-606-5092. 

Next Update 

The next update will be available by 4 p.m. on Wednesday May 10, 2023. 


Media Contact: 

GPREP Information Officer