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An evacuation order is in place for parts of west-central Alberta as a wildfire burns in the area.

The fire, which is about 19 kilometres west of Nordegg, was discovered Tuesday and initially responded well to firefighting efforts.

“It’s currently still classified as out of control and it’s estimated to be approximately 366 hectares in size,” Travis Fairweather, wildfire information officer for Alberta Wildfire, said about noon Thursday.

He said it’s considered out of control because of increased temperatures, low humidity and high winds.

How you (and your home) can stay cool in a heat wave

The evacuation order issued by Clearwater County on Wednesday night includes several provincial recreation areas, the Centre for Outdoor Education and Frontier Lodge.

An evacuation alert is also in place for the hamlet of Nordegg, which is about 175 kilometres west of Red Deer. Officials said residents in that area should be prepared to leave within two hours of being notified.

Mr. Fairweather said conditions were fairly good Thursday morning but could change with the afternoon heat.

“There are air tankers working on the fire right now,” he said. “When it’s safe to do so, we will be getting some wildfire crews in there as well, and there’s always support from helicopters bucketing on the fire.

“It is a little bit remote, access is a bit difficult and safety is always our No. 1 concern.”

Environment Canada also issued a special air quality statement for the area Thursday.

“Smoke from a wildfire west of Nordegg is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility at times,” it says.

The statement says people could experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. It adds they should consider taking precautions to reduce exposure, particularly children, seniors or people with cardiovascular and lung diseases.

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