Home News Wildfires approach Canada’s largest oil-producing region. again.

Wildfires approach Canada’s largest oil-producing region. again.

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About 6,600 people in Fort McMurray, Alta., have been evacuated since Tuesday due to wildfires near Canada’s largest oil-producing region.

The evacuations brought back horrific memories of a 2016 fire that destroyed some 2,400 homes and businesses, forcing 90,000 people fled, making it the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

The start of Canada’s wildfire season comes after a record year in 2023, when about 45 million acres of forest burned, a significant increase from the annual average of 6.1 million acres.

Unusually large fires are sweeping the country, with choking smoke from the Quebec fires filling skies across eastern Canada and penetrating the U.S. East Coast, causing poor air quality.

Last week, federal officials said a prolonged drought in Alberta and British Columbia has led to a potentially dangerous wildfire season in those areas and to the north.

This week’s evacuation order is one of several issued in recent days in northern Alberta and neighboring British Columbia, a region hit hard by fires last year and now in its third year of drought.

The fire front was about three miles from parts of Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday morning.Wildfire says winds are easing Lower temperatures reduced the severity of fires.

As of Tuesday evening, the fire had burned about 27,000 acres. Thick smoke prevented officials from determining its precise size, and winds reaching 25 mph forced them to remove firefighters from its leading edge.

Aircraft, including some with night vision systems, are still dropping water on the fires and taking steps to protect Fort McMurray buildings.

However, officials said most of the fires swept through areas that burned in 2016, reducing the amount of fuel available for current fires.

Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality Fire Chief Jody Butz said during a fire rescue operation At a news conference on Tuesday, he said he was “very, very confident” firefighters would put out the fire in Fort McMurray.

He said the city cleared more areas to prevent fires than in 2016 and also More firefighters and equipment are available.

The two communities currently under evacuation orders were among the areas that burned most heavily in 2016 and were subsequently rebuilt.

To avoid the highway chaos seen during evacuations in 2016, officials asked residents of neighborhoods that were not under evacuation orders to stay home until more hazardous areas were cleared.

“Please allow these communities to evacuate first,” Chief Jody Butts told residents at a news conference Tuesday. “It’s important that we handle this in a safe, orderly and respectful manner.”

Aleks Mortlock, whose home was destroyed in a fire in 2016, told Canada’s public broadcaster CBC that his previous experience didn’t make Tuesday’s evacuation any easier.

He said he “had the same anxieties, the same things going through your mind, and this time, I had a kid to worry about.”

Mr Mortlock said his two children aged under six “Didn’t really understand” the dangerous situation the fire created.

people leaving the area She sought refuge as far south as Edmonton, the provincial capital, about 280 miles south.

Another wildfire in an area near Fort Nelson, British Columbia, has prompted the evacuation of about 4,700 people since last weekend. More favorable winds there helped firefighters control the blaze, which was about a mile from the community and near neighboring Fort Nelson First Nation.

Further east of Fort Nelson, the entire population of Cranberry Portage, Manitoba (approximately 700 people) was evacuated due to wildfires. Communities in northern Manitoba have been threatened by fires in the past.

The 2016 Fort McMurray fire, later dubbed “The Beast,” resulted in approximately C$4 billion in insurance claims and disrupted production in the oil sands, the United States’ largest source of imported oil.

Last-minute evacuations from the fire forced many residents to drive through walls of flames on the south’s only highway.although The fire did not directly kill residents or firefighters. Two people who were evacuating died in the highway collision.

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