13,000 people flee Canada wildfires as situation expected to worsen
Little Red River Cree Nation is one of the worst-hit areas where the 1,458-hectare Fox Lake fire burned 20 homes and the area's police station.
13,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes as wildfires engulfed parts of Alberta, and as a result of a week of record hot temperatures, the rapid melting of snow triggered flooding across British Columbia.
Little Red River Cree Nation was one of the worst-hit areas where the 1,458-hectare Fox Lake fire burned 20 homes and the area's police station.
The 7,000-people population of Drayton Valley, west of Edmonton, was ordered to evacuate on Thursday.
Just this year, 348 wildfires in Alberta have occurred so far - burning more than 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres), according to Christie Tucker, an information unit manager for Alberta Wildfire.
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“This is significantly more wildfire activity for this time of year than we have seen any time in the recent past,” she said during a press conference, adding that the situation is expected to intensify over the weekend.
“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 stated.
British Columbia witnessed rivers burst their banks and highways overloaded with closures due to the rapid snow melt in communities such as Cache Creek and Grand Forks.
This follows a rapid increase in high temperatures after a cold spring, recording 10-15 degrees Celsius above the average for early May.
The floods are also expected to worsen over the weekend with heavy rain.
The area's River Forecast Centre issued a flood warning on Thursday saying, “Peak river levels are expected on Saturday through Monday."
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