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    Wildfires in Western Canada Prompt Emergency Declaration and Force 25,000 to Evacuate


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    Wildfires are causing chaos in Alberta, Canada. Around 25,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, with thousands more told to be ready to leave at any moment. The fires have been fanned by strong winds, and the number of them has increased to 110. One-third of these fires are out of control. Alberta has declared a state of emergency, with more than 20 communities evacuated and at least 122,000 hectares (301,000 acres) burned.

    Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta, has said that the province is experiencing an “unprecedented” crisis due to a hot, dry spring and a lot of kindling around. More than 20 communities have been evacuated, and at least 122,000 hectares (301,000 acres) have burned so far. Smith has declared a provincial state of emergency to protect the safety, health and welfare of Albertans. The declaration allows for greater powers to respond to extreme situations, including mobilizing additional resources and unlocking emergency funds.

    Almost all of Alberta, much of neighbouring Saskatchewan and a large swath of the Northwest Territories face extreme fire risks. Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair tweeted that Ottawa stood ready to provide federal assistance if needed.

    In recent years, western Canada has been hit repeatedly by extreme weather, with the intensity and frequency increasing due to global warming. Forest fires in Canada’s oil sands region in 2016 disrupted production and forced out 100,000 residents from Fort McMurray, pummelling the nation’s economy.

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