April 13, 2024

Canada’s Alberta province has declared a state of emergency

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A helicopter carrying firefighting water in Alberta (icon image) © Robert B McCauy / Imago

A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian province of Alberta due to numerous wildfires.

Edmonton, Canada – Premier Daniel Smith made the announcement after an emergency meeting. About 25,000 people have already been evacuated from the wildfires, and thousands more have been called to prepare for evacuation. Due to strong winds, the number of fires in the province has risen to 110.

“We have declared a state of emergency for the province to protect the safety, health and welfare of residents,” Smith said. Declaring a state of emergency gives the government more options to respond to extreme situations, including mobilizing additional resources and releasing emergency funds.

In an earlier press conference, Smith said, “After a hot, dry spring, with a lot of wood, a few sparks are enough to start a terrible fire.”

According to your information, 122,000 hectares have been burnt so far. More than 20 communities were evacuated.

Almost all of Alberta, neighboring Saskatchewan and much of the Northwest Territories are at extreme risk of wildfires, according to a Canadian federal government map. Disaster Relief Secretary Bill Blair tweeted that the Ottawa government is ready to provide federal assistance if needed.

Among the evacuated towns is Drayton Valley, 140 kilometers west of Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, with a population of 7,000. Firefighters are battling the out-of-control fire.

A large fire destroyed 20 houses, a supermarket and a police station in the town of Fox Lake, about 550 kilometers north of the provincial capital. People were brought to safety by boat and helicopter.

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More than 8,000 residents of the town of Edson were asked to evacuate “immediately.”

Alberta is one of the most important oil producing regions in the world. Fracking companies are monitoring the situation closely and have so far reported no interruption in production. In 2016, wildfires disrupted production in the oil sands.

Over the years, Western Canada has been repeatedly affected by extreme weather events, which are increasing in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change. ck/ma