A forest fire has destroyed at least a third of the town of Slave Lake in northern Alberta, Canada. News reports indicate the gusting winds have calmed somewhat.
The town’s 7,000 residents, including members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been evacuated to neighboring communities. No deaths or injuries have been reported, but several of Slave Lake’s buildings have been destroyed, including the town hall, the library, a radio station, a mall and several homes. Further damage is expected as the fire continues to burn.
The Church has several members, as well as missionaries, in Slave Lake. Church Welfare Services reports the meetinghouse and the homes of 10 Latter-day Saints have been destroyed. Displaced members have taken shelter in the meetinghouse in the nearby community of Athabasca and with relatives and friends in Edmonton. Missionaries serving in the area have been moved to Edmonton.
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Church leaders have delivered food, bedding and hygiene supplies to Latter-day Saints and are preparing additional hygiene kits for other displaced residents.
Latter-day Saint leaders have been meeting with government personnel and relief organizations to discuss ongoing needs and opportunities for assistance.
The Vancouver Sun newspaper has placed on its website photos of the devastating fire.