Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Out-of-Control Wildfire Forces Evacuations in Canada

Voice of America
22 May 2019, 10:09 GMT+10

An out-of-control wildfire burning in the Canadian province of Alberta has forced the evacuation of the 4,000-resident town of High Level.

'The fire is jumping from crown to crown of trees,' Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said at a news conference Tuesday. 'Unfortunately, the dry conditions in northern Alberta are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with the fire danger possibly increasing this week.'

Fire officials have rated the fire as a Level 6, the top of the wildfire intensity scale.

There have been 430 wildfires in Alberta since March 1, of which 30 are still active and five have been classified as out of control. Kenny said the number of fires currently burning across the province is slightly higher than the five-year average.

Fire experts from Natural Resources, Canada's Northern Forestry Center in Edmonton, predict that wildfire danger is increasing in western Canada.

'For the month of May, we are showing normal or below-normal levels of expected fire severity through the entire country,' said Richard Carr, a fire research analyst.

'However, through the summer beginning in June and extending through August, we're seeing the western-most regions - British Columbia, Yukon, western Alberta - that have increased risk of fire severity, and therefore the possibility of more fires,' he said.

Officials said the forecast doesn't predict the number of fires, only weather conditions that could lead to more fires.

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