Wildfires in Canada cause more than 30,000 displaced persons

Dry, hot spring has led to sparks causing fires that are difficult to control

Evacuations continued Sunday in western Canada due to advancing wildfires, bringing the total number of people displaced in a matter of days to 30,000, an “unprecedented” situation for this time of year.
The province of Alberta had to declare a state of emergency on Saturday after ordering the evacuation of some 25,000 people. As of Sunday evening, 107 fires were still active in the province, 28 of which firefighters had not yet been able to control.

“We’ve had some light scattered showers in the southern part of the province,” explained Christie Tucker, spokesperson for regional emergency agencies, during a press conference Sunday in Edmonton.

“This allowed firefighters to attack some areas they had been unable to get close to due to extreme fire behaviour.” But this “good news” does not cover the north of the province, where conditions remain complex, he added.

In their fight against the fires, authorities are concentrating on inhabited areas, such as the town of Drayton Valley, about 140 kilometers west of Edmonton, or Fox Lake, in the north of the province.
“In some cases, ongoing smoke and fire conditions prevent us from fully assessing” property losses, said Colin Blair of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

This Canadian province, one of the largest oil-producing regions, “has been experiencing a dry, hot spring and, with so much firewood, it only takes a few sparks to ignite some really scary wildfires,” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Saturday.
Two out-of-control wildfires in neighboring British Columbia have also caused some people to flee their homes. Firefighters from Ontario and Quebec arrived as reinforcements and were deployed in several regions.

In recent years, western Canada has been repeatedly hit by extreme weather events, the intensity and frequency of which have increased due to global warming.

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