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‘Praying for rain’: Thousands forced to evacuate as wildfires ravage Canada

Wildfires in western Canada have forced thousands of people to leave their homes.

Alberta declared a state of emergency following 45 new fires that broke out within 24 hours.

On Saturday night, over 24,000 Albertans were ordered to evacuate as 110 wildfires raged – 36 of which were out of control.

The firefighters are facing a “very challenging” day.

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Christie Tucker, manager of the information unit for Alberta Wildfire, a provincial government service, said: “We had to deal with very strong winds and hot weather. These winds caused extreme wildfire activity.”

The dry, hot spring has made much of Alberta’s landscape tinder, and “all it takes are a few sparks” to start some frightening wildfires, said Premier Danielle Smith of the ruling United Conservative Party.

She added, “These conditions are the cause of the unprecedented situation that our province faces today.”


“Praying for Rain”

Ms Smith stated that so far this season, 43,000 hectares of land have been burned by wildfires. She added that this level of fire activity was “very uncommon” for this early in the year.

A fire destroyed 20 homes in one community and the local police station.

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Grant Fagerheim is the CEO of Whitecap Oil, a producer in central and northwestern Alberta. He said, “We’re watching closely and praying for rainfall.”

Pembina Pipeline Corp., which operates oil-gathering pipes in the region, announced on Friday that it has activated emergency response processes and incident management and is “evaluating current or anticipated operational impact”.

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