thousands of people evacuated due to forest fires in the west of the country

thousands of people evacuated due to forest fires in the west of the country
thousands of people evacuated due to forest fires in the west of the country

Thousands of people had to be evacuated in Western Canada, where hundreds of forest fires raged on Sunday, while the fire season which started early promises to be difficult according to federal authorities.

“The fires are really all around us, from the west to the northeast,” laments the mayor of Fort Nelson, Rob Fraser, with fear, imploring the hundred or so residents remaining there to leave the city threatened by a blaze outside. control.

A fire of nearly 2,500 hectares is currently raging 3.5 kilometers west of homes. Nearly 3,500 people had to be moved 400 km further south on Friday evening. Milder weather conditions helped slow the advance of the blaze overnight, said Rob Fraser, but the return of the wind in the afternoon could make the situation worse.

“An extremely difficult struggle”

“We are in a period of level 5 drought (the highest, editor’s note), which makes the fight against forest fires extremely difficult, but we will do our best to contain this one,” concluded the mayor. .

In the neighboring province of Alberta, 43 fires are raging, including one in particular located about fifteen kilometers from Fort McMurray, forcing residents to prepare for a possible evacuation. This city in the northwest of the province, located in the heart of the boreal forest and known for the exploitation of its tar sands, had already been ravaged in May 2016, forcing the 90,000 inhabitants to hastily leave the region. This fire remains the biggest disaster in Canadian history with more than 2,500 buildings destroyed and a cost of nearly 10 billion Canadian dollars.

Other evacuation orders were also issued this weekend for small towns in Alberta and Manitoba while strong winds pushed smoke across the west of the country, suffocating several large cities. Air quality poses “very high” risks there, according to the federal government.

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