More than 13,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in western Canada, as of Friday, after a week of record-hot weather, exceeding seasonal averages by as much as 10 degrees Celsius.
A week of record hot weather in western Canada has forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes, as wildfires raged in parts of Alberta and rapid snow melt triggered flooding across interior British Columbia, The Guardian reported.
By Friday, more than 13,000 people were under evacuation orders in Alberta, as 78 fires burned. Among the worst-hit areas was the Little Red River Cree Nation in the north of the province, where the 1,458-hectare Fox Lake fire consumed 20 homes and the police station.
The entire 7,000-strong population of Drayton Valley, 140km (87 miles) west of the provincial capital Edmonton, was also ordered to evacuate late on Thursday night.
There have been 348 wildfires in Alberta this year and more than 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres) burned, said Christie Tucker, an information unit manager for Alberta Wildfire.
“This is significantly more wildfire activity for this time of year than we have seen any time in the recent past,” Tucker told a press conference, adding fires were expected to intensify on Friday.
“It’s going to get hotter, it’s going to get windier and we are expecting some extreme wildfire behavior. Firefighters are at the ready today for what could be an extremely challenging day,” she said.