Western Canada Wildfires Cause Evacuation; Air Quality Drops

by | May 13, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Western Canada Wildfires Cause Evacuation; Air Quality Drops

Western Canada faced the season’s first major wildfires in May. The Western Canada wildfires consumed approximately 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of land by May 12th.

Authorities urgently evacuated communities in British Columbia due to the escalating threat. As for the residents, they are braced for deteriorating air quality across several provinces.

Western Canada Wildfires

In response to the advancing flames, officials in British Columbia swiftly ordered thousands of residents to evacuate the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Fort Nelson First Nations. The fire near these areas nearly doubled in size, reaching 4,136 hectares.

Mayor Rob Fraser confirmed in a television interview that most of the 3,500 residents around Fort Nelson had been successfully evacuated. Furthermore, an evacuation order was issued by Fort Nelson First Nation for Fontas, an Indigenous community situated 7 km (4.35 miles) from the town.

Across the provincial border in Alberta, residents of Fort McMurray—still recovering from devastating wildfires in 2016—were put on alert to prepare for potential evacuation. However, conditions slightly improved towards the end of the day due to favorable weather, including forecasted showers that helped curb fire growth.

Despite this, Alberta’s authorities stressed that the wildfires were extreme and uncontrolled. A total of 43 active fires were recorded, including one 16 km southwest of Fort McMurray. The affected fire area was revised to 6,579 hectares by Sunday, significantly larger than initially reported on Friday.

According to Alberta authorities, efforts to contain the wildfires involved six wildland firefighter crews, 13 helicopters, and air tankers. Evacuation alerts remained in place for Fort McMurray and Saprae Creek Estates.

It expanded to include Gregoire Lake Estates and Rickards Landing Industrial Park. These alerts serve as precautionary measures to ensure communities are prepared in case conditions worsen.

Smoke from the wildfires also adversely affected air quality. It prompted Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement stretching from British Columbia to Ontario on Sunday.

Last year’s severe wildfire season, which sent smoke as far as Europe, foreshadowed similar challenges this year. The federal government cautioned that Canada might face yet another “catastrophic” wildfire season.

They feel that it’s due to anticipated above-average temperatures during spring and summer, exacerbated by El Nino weather patterns. The nation experienced an exceptionally warm winter with limited snowfall in many regions.

The Western Canada wildfires are proving to be fatal. It’s heightening concerns about the potential for widespread blazes in forests and wildlands amidst ongoing drought conditions. As the situation unfolds, residents and authorities remain vigilant in monitoring and responding to the escalating threat posed by the wildfires.

Also Read: Mexico Heat Wave Breaks Temperature Records In 10 Cities

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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