Wildfires force more evacuations in Western Canada

Spreading Creek wildfire burns along Highway 11 that boarders the Banff National Park border in...

Spreading Creek wildfire burns along Highway 11 that boarders the Banff National Park border in Alberta is seen from an aircraft. (Photo Supplied by/Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 AM ET

EDMONTON — Smoke from nearby forest fires is choking up Yellowknife, but officials there say the city isn't at risk just yet.

Part of a highway leading into the city was shut down Tuesday because of heavy smoke. Environment Canada warned residents of "widespread smoke" in the city.

There are currently 146 fires in the Northwest Territories as hot and dry conditions have led to one of the worst forest fire seasons in years. In total, the territory has seen 205 fires which have scorched 855,597 hectares this year.



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A couple of wet days and cooler temperatures into next week may help crews fight the fires.

Just south, however, residents have been ordered out of several fire-threatened areas of British Columbia and Alberta.

A state of local emergency and an evacuation order was issued overnight Tuesday for residents of the MD of Greenview, southwest of Grande Prairie, Alta.

It applies to areas south of the Wapiti River, west of Nose Creek and the Two Lakes Road and north of Township 61. So far, that's only affected six people living in the remote area.

Residents were told to leave immediately, close doors and gates — latch but do not lock them — and take all personal items.

 

Worker accommodations and industrial facilities are likely to be impacted in forestry, oil and gas areas.

Ash was falling in Edmonton and Alberta Health Services warned thatt air quality will be affected over the next few days. Residents were told to take necessary precautions.

In B.C., residents of Hudson's Hope in the province's northeast were ordered to leave their homes Wednesday. Police were going door to door to send residents to the nearest shelter centres. Residents in Okanagan Similkameen were also ushered from their homes.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark tweeted Wednesday that the province is experiencing its driest conditions since 1958 and that there were 124 fires burning, half of them "human caused."

She pegged the cost of battling the blazes at $3 to $5 million a day.

The Peace River Regional District said industry infrastructure is at risk and travel in the area is restricted.

As well, three oil and gas work camps were evacuated near Tumbler Ridge, about 10 km from the Alberta border. Owners of two cabins on Tetachuck Lake and all cabin owners and campers in Entiako Provincial Park were also advised to leave the area.

There are 124 fires in B.C., which have burned 46,000 hectares, 827 fires in Alberta, which have ruined 13,000 hectares, and 222 fires in Saskatchewan have charred 114,500 hectares.

Lightning is the casue of many of the fires.

 


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