The skies over Edmonton were an extraordinary and confusing sight on Wednesday night. A giant light beam surrounded with clouds of smoke shot up into the horizon, confusing and frightening many Edmontonians. The Edmonton light beam freaked people out so much that Edmonton Fire Rescue’s phone was blowing up with reports of a potential fire. 

Those who didn't think the source of the light beam was a fire assumed it must be the next most probable thing: aliens. Locals shared photos of the illuminated night sky with confusion, curiosity, and extra-terrestrial assumptions.

Meanwhile, Fire Rescue Services took to Twitter to bust the myths. “We have determined this to be the flaring from the Strathcona Refinery which will continue for the next 48hrs. Thank you for your diligent reporting, but this is not a fire event,” they wrote.

According to CBC News, this type of flaring is used to safely burn extra gases that can't be used. So, that solves it. Though, the photos and tweets that emerged as a result of the light beam are still just as priceless.

"Who is summoning the galatic overlord in the west end???," one Twitter user wrote. "November 26, 2019, the day we started summoning demons from the netherworld," wrote another.

The Strathcona Refinery is an oil refinery just outside of the city. The Refinery’s flaring was set to last for 48 hours total and could be seen as far west as Parkland County.

Though some Edmontonians joked about alien activity, others knew exactly what was going down when they saw the bright light in the sky.

"A couple of photos of the cool beam in the sky tonight thanks to the refineries flaring!!," one local wrote on Twitter, along with some stunning photos of the light beam.

Because most of the news about Edmonton recently has been horrific road conditions and terrible weather, a little playful alien news is welcomed. Winter is on the way, and it's just going to get colder from here.

That said, there are still tons of things to do inside in Edmonton to keep you cozy during the winter. One of those things might even be gazing at the Refinery to catch the next flaring.

Stay warm, Edmonton, and look out for little green guys.


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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