Record Heat and Wildfires Force Thousands to Evacuate in Western Canada

Thousands Forced to Evacuate as Wildfires and Flooding Ravage Western Canada

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Thousands Forced to Evacuate as Wildfires and Flooding Ravage Western Canada

Western Canada is facing a major crisis as wildfires and flooding force thousands of people to evacuate. More than 13,000 people were ordered to leave parts of Alberta as 78 fires burned, and officials warned that the blazes are expected to intensify.

The Little Red River Cree Nation in the north of the province was among the worst-hit areas, with the 1,458-hectare Fox Lake fire consuming 20 homes and the police station. The entire population of Drayton Valley was also ordered to evacuate.

According to Alberta Wildfire information unit manager Christie Tucker, there have been 348 wildfires in Alberta this year, and more than 25,000 hectares have burned. Tucker stated that this is significantly more wildfire activity than they have seen at any time recently, and the fires are expected to intensify due to the hot and windy conditions. Firefighters are prepared for an extremely challenging day.

In addition to the wildfires, rapid snow melt has triggered flooding across interior British Columbia, causing rivers to burst their banks and washing through homes, forcing highway closures in numerous communities.

British Columbia’s River Forecast Centre issued a flood warning late Thursday, stating that peak river levels are expected Saturday through Monday. The flooding is expected to worsen over the weekend, with heavy rain forecast across the province’s south.

Until last week, Western Canada had been enduring a cold spring, but the rapid onset of unseasonably high temperatures, in places 10-15C above the average for early May, is causing fires and flooding. As climate change continues to cause extreme weather patterns around the world, governments need to take action to mitigate the effects of these disasters and protect the people who are affected by them.

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