Almost 90 fires are still burning in Alberta, 23 of which are out of control

In cities like Calgary, in Alberta, citizens must walk with masks. Smoke from the 90 fires that ravaged this province billowed into the streets.

According to the latest report from local authorities, in this western Canadian province, fires have burned at least 616 thousand hectares, of which 95 thousand burned only from Sunday to Tuesday.

The state of emergency is still in force in 22 municipalities and nearly 20,000 citizens are still being evacuated in reception centers that have been made available to citizens. No more losses were recorded.

Members of the 3rd Canadian Light Infantry take part in forest fire prevention operations near Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, on May 12, 2023. © Reuters

“At the moment, no injuries have been reported to the Regional Emergency Coordination Centre. This does not mean that the local authorities do not have injuries at the scene. (…) The good thing is that we have not had any fatalities. So far,” Colin Blair said. Executive Director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

Among the populations at risk are at least nine indigenous people in the country’s northwest. Hardest hit are the indigenous Little Red River Cree, located about 550 kilometers north of the city of Edmonton, also in Alberta.

More reinforcements to fight the flames are on the way

There are currently 2,500 people, including firefighters and volunteers, battling the blaze in the province, said Kristi Tucker, head of the Alberta Wildfire Information Unit.

Smoke from a wildfire near the edge of Wood Buffalo National Park outside Fox Lake, Alberta, Canada, May 14, 2023. © Alberta Wildfire / Reuters

For his part, Minister of Forest Parks and Tourism Todd Lewin urged local authorities to limit the impact of the fire and increase the number of firefighters to respond to emergencies. About 1,000 firefighters are expected to arrive in the coming days.

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In the satellite imagery, you can see how plumes of smoke extend from Alberta into the northern United States.

The state of emergency is also affecting air quality and visibility across the province and the local government has called on citizens to stay indoors to prevent poisoning.

About 90 fires are active in Alberta, with 23 out of control, according to the provincial government, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on May 16, 2023. © Leah Hennell/Reuters

Fires affect oil production in Canada

Energy Canada reported on Tuesday that oil production in Alberta had fallen about 4% as a result of the fires and noted that many companies had to scale back operations due to orders to evacuate employees.

Alberta is the main oil-producing region of Canada, and in turn it is the fourth country with the highest production of this fuel in the world.

The fires spread amid an unusual drought in the region, as thermometers saw a rise above 30 degrees Celsius during the past week, and few temperatures before they were recorded in the place.

With Reuters and EFE

Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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