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Thousands of people are fleeing forest fires in Canada

Authorities in Canada have called on thousands of people to evacuate due to forest fires. It is expected to remain hot and dry in the coming months and the risk of forest fires will therefore increase.

Wildfires in western Canada are forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. The small town of Fort Nelson in the province of British Columbia is in close proximity to the flames. “The fires are really all around us, from the west to the northeast,” Fort Nelson Mayor Rob Fraser told AFP.

Almost 3,500 people had already been evacuated from Fort Nelson on Friday as a fire near the city had doubled to more than 4,000 hectares. According to the fire protection authorities, the forest fire could reach the first houses during the day.

Smoke worsens air quality

The neighboring province of Alberta is also affected by the fires. On Sunday, 44 fires raged in the region. Residents of the city of Fort McMurray, also known as the oil hub of Canada, were preparing for possible evacuation because of a fire just 15 kilometers away. Fires had already destroyed large parts of the city in 2016. 2,500 houses were destroyed and several thousand people had to flee the flames.

Small towns in Alberta and the province of Manitoba also had evacuation orders in place over the weekend. Smoke from the fires also spread across large parts of Western Canada. As a result, the air quality was extremely poor in several large cities.

Smoke from the wildfires billowed across large parts of Western Canada.

The next few months will be dry and hot

Forest fires have broken out earlier than usual this year, raising fears of a difficult fire season. Last week, the government had already predicted an increased risk of forest fires in the coming months due to persistent drought and unusually high temperatures.

In 2023, Canada experienced its worst wildfire season to date. More than 15 million hectares of land burned, eight firefighters were killed and 230,000 people were evacuated.

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