Fire forces evacuation of Alberta hamlet

A hamlet in northwestern Alberta was placed under a mandatory evacuation order Tuesday night because of an encroaching wildfire.

The order, which was issued at 9:36 p.m. MT, affects Zama, which is home to about 150 people at this time of year, according to John Klassen, director of operations for Mackenzie County.

"The last update we had was that the fire front was about six miles from Zama ... headed east towards the hamlet," he said.

"There [are] fairly strong winds in the area as we speak."

Klassen says a reception centre has been set up in the town of High Level.

He asks that all residents register at the reception centre in the town hall, even if they are staying with friends, so officials ensure everyone is out of the hamlet.

Zama is located about 936 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. The hamlet is known for its oil and gas operations and tends to have a higher population during the winter drilling season, Klassen said.

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