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High Level launches online exhibit to mark 1 year since wildfire evacuations

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The town of High Level launched an online experience to mark the first anniversary of the Chuckegg Creek wildfire, which forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

“The town council requested that we put together a celebration for the Chuckegg Creek wildfire anniversary, so we have been planning something for quite some time,” Clark McAskile, the chief administrative officer for the Town of High Level, said Sunday.

The exhibit, which features information, photos and actual equipment used in the firefight, was set up at the Mackenzie Crossroads Museum and Visitor Centre in High Level.

It was initially meant to coincide with a town celebration but that was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

While the museum is still closed to visitors, the town opted to launch an online version so people can still experience it in the interim.

The online video tour features Mayor Crystal McAteer giving a 17-minute explanation of the exhibit and its contents.

The fire was declared under control in August 2019, two months after the evacuations. However, some hot spots remain active, and McAskile said the town has been told it could remain active through this summer.

McAskile added the town is working on a reopening plan for the museum, with limited access amid the COVID-19 relaunch.

“People will be able to see it, right up and in person, but everybody gets to see it virtually,” he said.

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