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Western Canada continues evacuations to avoid live wildfires

Western Canada: Multiple communities in western Canada have issued emergency evacuation orders and alerts this weekend due to wildfires, which experts say are more active than expected for this time of year.

In Fort Nelson, British Columbia, thousands of residents are currently under evacuation orders as an out-of-control wildfire continues to burn just 3.5 kilometers west of the community, along Highway 97. The order extends to surrounding areas and the nearby Fort Nelson First Nation, affecting approximately 3,500 residents.

Rob Fraser, the mayor of the Northern Rockies regional municipality, described the wildfire behavior in northern B.C. this weekend as “pretty significant.” Although the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reported significantly reduced fire behavior for the Parker Lake wildfire compared to Friday, dry conditions mean the situation could change rapidly. Despite relatively calm fires at the moment, thick smoke has effectively blocked out the sun in some areas.

Similar fire behavior was experienced in Alberta, where firefighters battled strong winds while trying to contain the flames. Evacuation orders issued in Fort McMurray and Saprae Creek on Friday were expanded to include several surrounding communities on Saturday.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo expanded its alert to include Fort McMurray, Saprae Creek, Anzac, Fort McMurray First Nation #468, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Rickards Landing Industrial Park due to the “risk of wildfire,” requiring residents to be on alert for immediate evacuation.

An evacuation order was also issued for Grande Prairie County No. 1 on Friday evening due to a wildfire burning about four kilometers east of Teepee Creek. Meanwhile, residents of Cranberry Portage in northern Manitoba were safely evacuated after a wildfire burning nearby crossed Highway 10.

Despite the evacuation efforts, the situation remains challenging, with some residents recalling past evacuations due to similar circumstances. Officials are working hard to ensure the safety and well-being of affected communities.

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