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World News May 13, 2024

Western Canada blazes cause evacuation orders, air quality concerns

The first major wildfires of the season have ravaged approximately 8,000 hectares of land across Western Canada, prompting evacuations and warnings of poor air quality. In British Columbia, thousands of residents in Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Fort Nelson First Nations were evacuated due to a fire spreading to 2,483 hectares. Fort Nelson Mayor Rob Fraser reported that most residents in the area had been evacuated. Additionally, an evacuation order was issued for Fontas, an Indigenous community near Fort Nelson First Nation. In Alberta, residents of Fort McMurray were asked to prepare for evacuation as two wildfires, one located southwest of Fort McMurray, grew significantly over the weekend to 5,500 hectares. Despite efforts to contain the fires, authorities warned of potential escalation as temperatures rise and winds from the southeast push the wildfires towards the Athabasca River. The fires were believed to have been ignited by a fallen tree striking a power line during strong winds. Firefighting efforts involved six wildland firefighter crews, 13 helicopters, and airtankers. The federal government has cautioned of another “catastrophic” wildfire season due to higher-than-normal temperatures forecasted for spring and summer, exacerbated by El Nino weather conditions. Concerns are heightened by Canada’s warm winter, with limited snowfall and ongoing drought, raising the risk of forest and wildland fires.

Source – CGTN

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