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Out-of-control wildfires cause evacuations in western Canada

A wildfire burns a section of forest in the Grande Prairie district of Alberta, Canada, on Saturday.
Government of Alberta Fire Service/The Canadian Press via AP
A wildfire burns a section of forest in the Grande Prairie district of Alberta, Canada, on Saturday.

EDMONTON, Alberta — Fire crews battled wildfires threatening communities in western Canada on Sunday amid hopes that cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain might bring some temporary relief.

A provincewide state of emergency was declared Saturday in Alberta as more than 110 wildfires burned across the province, forcing more than 24,000 people to leave their homes.

Two out-of-control wildfires in neighboring British Columbia also caused some people to leave their homes, and officials warned that they expected high winds to cause the blazes to grow bigger in the next few days.

Provinicial officials in Alberta said the weather forecast was favorable for the next few days, with trace amounts of rain and overcast conditions. But they cautioned that hot and dry conditions were predicted to return within a few days.

"While there are some areas that could have experienced some precipitation, other areas may not. The wildfires in the area are extremely hot and will burn deep into the ground. These fires can reignite again if conditions are right," a provincial update said Sunday about fires in Parkland and Yellowhead counties west of Edmonton.

In northeastern British Columbia, the chairman of the Peace River Regional District, Leonard Hiebert, said in a statement that the two big fires in that area had been "aggressive" in spreading since their discovery Friday. He urged anyone living in an area covered by evacuation orders to leave immediately.

A third fire in British Columbia was burning out of control 700 kilometers (430 miles) to the south, in the Teare Creek region, and some residents near the village of McBride were evacuated.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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