Wildfire and Flood Rages in Western Canada, Forcing Thousands to Evacuate
Thousands of Canadians have been forced to evacuate their homes as wildfires and floods lashed the Western part of the nation. As of Friday, more than 13,000 people were under evacuation orders in Alberta as 78 fires burned across the province. Meanwhile, rivers overflowed their banks in British Columbia, destroying houses and necessitating the closure of multiple highways. This unusual onset of erratic weather is the result of an unexpected rise in temperatures, now 10-15 degrees above average for early May in some locations.
Wildfires in Alberta
The Little River Cree Nation was among the worst-hit areas, with the Fox fire consuming 1,458 hectares and 20 homes, including the police station. Additionally, the entire population of Drayton Valley, consisting of 7,000 people, was ordered to evacuate on Thursday night. According to the Alberta Wildfire, 348 wildfires occurred in the region this year, and more than 25,000 hectares of land were burned.
Possible Impacts on Oil and Gas Producers
The Pembina Pipeline Corp has activated the emergency response, and the incident management process is “evaluating any current or anticipated operational impacts.” No impacts on oil and gas producers have been reported yet.
Flooding in British Columbia
In British Columbia, rivers overflowed their banks, necessitating the closure of multiple highways in interior areas like Cache Creek and Grand Forks. The Ministry of Emergency Management in a statement warned residents to brace themselves for further flooding over the weekend due to the heavy rain. Warm temperatures in the Interior have accelerated snowmelt and caused increased pressure on rivers and creeks, leading to the likelihood of flooding.
Christie Tucker, an information unit manager for Alberta Wildfire, warned on Friday that the fires are expected to intensify. She said, “This is significantly more wildfire activity for this time of year than we have seen any time in the recent past. 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.”
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