Canada wildfires merge overnight amid continued evacuations
As human-caused global warming continues to make natural hazards more deadly and more frequent, two fast-moving wildfires spread and merged in western Canada, forcing additional evacuations in a large portion of a British Columbia province, officials said Sunday.
Threatening hundreds of houses, the growing blaze is now centred near the town of Shuswap, 500 km northeast of Vancouver, and covers over 41,000 hectares, fire officials mentioned. Strong northern winds continued to fan the flames, impeding efforts to control them.
Overnight Precipitation Brings Momentary Respite
Some 30,000 people across the province have been ordered to evacuate, with another 36,000 alerted to be prepared to leave in short order. Residents of Northwest Territories, north of British Columbia, are also encountering a serious fire threat.
Wildfires continue to surround the territorial capital Yellowknife, with nearly all the city’s 20,000 residents already left. While overnight precipitation brought fire crews momentary respite, the threat was growing again on Sunday, authorities mentioned.
PM approves British Columbia’s request for federal assistance
Massive flames have destroyed hundreds of structures in a region popular among tourists worldwide. It’s feared some evacuations might not be short-lived. Risks continue to rise for emergency personnel who venture into danger zones to persuade reluctant locals to leave.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved British Columbia’s request for federal assistance. Estimates suggest a record-setting wildfire season has already damaged over 14 million hectares of Canada. Meanwhile, the official death toll stays at four.