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Thousands of Canadians have been forced to evacuate due to raging wildfires. And now the harmful smoke is flowing into the United States

Thousands of Canadians have been forced to evacuate due to raging wildfires.  And now the harmful smoke is flowing into the United States

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP

Smoke from wildfires blankets the city as a couple takes a walk in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, May 11.



CNN

Thousands across Canada were urged to evacuate from raging wildfires on Saturday, and smoke from them could pose another danger that will persist over the next two days — leading to poor air quality and reduced visibility as it begins to enter the United States.

An evacuation order was issued for about 3,200 residents in northeastern British Columbia Saturday afternoon as the Parker Lake Fire burned through the region, covering more than 4,000 acres. Meanwhile, evacuation alerts have been issued for parts of Alberta as the MWF-017 wildfire spreads to… Nearly 5,000 acres.

Smoke from the inferno caused Environment Canada to issue an air quality statement extending from British Columbia to Ontario.

Residents of parts of British Columbia “are or are likely to be affected by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours.” Warn He said. The smoke coming from northeastern British Columbia is causing “extremely poor air quality and reduced visibility” in parts of Alberta, according to the warning.

While conditions have temporarily improved in parts of the province, the smoke is expected to return on Sunday.

“Conditions should start to improve Sunday night across most of the province. Conditions are likely to remain poor in northwestern Alberta until Monday or possibly Tuesday,” the warning read.

In parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, wildfire smoke may lead to periods of poor air quality and reduced visibility, the release said.

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Smoke from Canada also began flowing into the United States, prompting an air quality alert across Minnesota due to unhealthy air quality. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said smoke was affecting cities including the Twin Cities and St. Cloud as well as several tribal areas.

“The smoke will clear the northern half of the state overnight and the air quality there will improve. The smoke will continue until midday Monday across southern Minnesota and air quality will gradually improve through the day as the smoke begins to spread,” the state agency said.

Just last year, Canadian wildfires They made their way into parts of the United States and caused dangerous weather conditions across the country. In 2023, 19 counties in 11 states experienced days with “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” air quality — at least a “code purple” alert on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index.

Canadian officials have warned that the people most at risk of health effects from wildfire smoke are people with lung diseases such as asthma, people with heart disease, along with the elderly, children, pregnant women and people who work outdoors. They also recommended that those who spend time outdoors wear a mask to help reduce exposure to fine smoke particles.

Alberta Wildfire/Bulletin/Reuters

Smoke rises from the GCU007 Mutual Aid wildfire in the Grande Prairie forest area near Tybee Creek, Alberta, Canada, May 10.

Thousands have had to evacuate from wildfires in British Columbia

An evacuation order has been issued for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Fort Nelson First Nation, according to the British Daily Mail. Joint press release on saturday. About 2,800 residents from the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and about 450 residents from Fort Nelson First Nation were asked to evacuate.

“In moments of uncertainty, unity is crucial,” Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Rob Fraser said in a news release. Please evacuate calmly, our collective strength will be our resilience.”

“There was generally good compliance,” although some residents chose to shelter in place, Jaylene McIver, information officer for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, told CNN.

Terry Cavalier, director of emergency operations, told CNN that more than 90% of Fort Nelson First Nation’s approximately 450 residents had evacuated the area.

As the bushfires continue to burn, residents have been warned that some facilities and communications may be affected. Emergency medical services, groceries and other resources are also scarce as evacuation is the main priority.

Evacuation alerts are also in effect in parts of Alberta where the MWF-017 wildfire is burning about 10 miles southwest of Fort McMurray, according to a statement from emergency management. Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Alerts were active in Fort McMurray, Spray Creek Estates, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation #468, Anzac, and Rickards Landing Industrial Complex.

“Although there is no immediate danger to these communities, the alert ensures residents are prepared to evacuate if conditions change,” the statement read.

“As the evening progresses, cooler temperatures are expected to slow wildfire behavior,” officials said Saturday. He added, “Operations will continue with night vision helicopters and heavy equipment.”

Fire restrictions will remain in effect in the area until conditions improve, he said Alberta wildfire.

“Five wildland firefighter crews and nine helicopters and air tankers worked the southeast perimeter today,” Alberta Wildfire said. “The windy conditions challenged firefighting efforts. Heavy equipment also worked to build a firebreak on the east side of this massive fire.

On Sunday, the incident management team will man the wildfire with additional crews and air support, according to Alberta Wildfire.