Firefighters battle 2 wildfires near Manning, Alta.

Firefighters are making progress as they battle two out-of-control wildfires near the town of Manning, north of Peace River, Alta.

The fires haven’t grown overnight, said Terry Ungarian, reeve of the County of Northern Lights, where the two wildfires are burning.

Cooler temperatures on Monday helped firefighters make progress towards containing the blazes, which were discovered on Saturday.

“The day the fire broke out was very abnormal temperature,” Ungarian said. “It reached the 28, 29-degree range with gusty winds. It was very, very dry.”

One of the fires, burning 10 kilometres northwest of the town of Manning, covers an area of around 2,500 hectares, according to Alberta Wildfire.

The second, smaller fire is further north and covers about 80 hectares.

The fires are not threatening any infrastructure, but people who live nearby should be ready to evacuate on short notice, said Ungarian.

“All residents in the area were advised to be prepared and to stay vigilant,” he said.

“County personnel has been going around knocking on doors just to make sure everybody in the vicinity is aware of what’s going on.”

People with respiratory conditions should take precautions, Ungarian added, as heavy smoke continued to blanket the area Monday.

Crews from Peace River, High Level, and Slave Lake are assisting Manning’s local fire fighting service.

Local crews discovered the fires Saturday afternoon, Ungarian said, and are now focusing their efforts on protecting the infrastructure in the region.  

“They could see this was a huge fire that was out of control and was moving in a direction towards residents, so they called in mutual assistance.”

Firefighters with Alberta Wildfire are battling the blazes on the ground using bulldozers, and from the air with helicopters.

There have been 55 wildfires in the Peace River area since March, and six are still burning, according to Alberta Wildfire’s website.

Only the two fires near Manning are considered to be out of control.

A fire advisory remains in place for the Peace River area, due to dry conditions.

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