April 22, 2024

Wildfires rage in Canada: Thousands evacuated from blazes

Almost 400,000 hectares of land have already fallen victim to the flames: in the Canadian province of Alberta, more than 100 fires are currently burning, and thousands of people have already had to be evacuated. Officials declared a state of emergency.

Fires continue to grow in western Canada, with 375,000 hectares already burning in the province of Alberta, according to officials on Sunday (May 7). Meanwhile, more than 29,000 people had to flee their homes. Even rain and low temperatures did not help prevent the fire from spreading. At least 30 of the more than 100 individual forest fires are out of control.

The province of Alberta declared a state of emergency on Saturday (May 6), allowing federal funding to be released to fight the fires.

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As Alberta Wildfire Protection Agency director Christy Tucker explained, at least the recent rains helped put out the fire. “It gave firefighters an opportunity to work on some fires that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to because of the intense nature of the fire.” They have also asked for help from the neighboring US state of Montana.

Climate change is causing more fires

The extent of damage caused by the fire cannot be estimated at this time. For now, the priority is protecting life and dealing with emergencies, said Colin Blair, director of the Alberta Civil Defense Agency.

There have been more than 360 fires since the start of the year — an exceptionally high number, according to officials. Experts warn that the intensity and frequency of wildfires will continue to increase given climate change. According to the Office for Environment and Climate Change, average temperatures in the west of the country have risen by 1.9 degrees Celsius since the mid-20th century.

  • Sources used:

  • DPA news agency

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