Firefighters curb blazes threatening 2 cities in western Canada but are ‘not out of the woods yet’

by Ryan Lee
0 comment
fokus keyword Canada wildfires

Firefighters successfully held back wildfires threatening Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, and another endangered city in British Columbia. However, the situation remains precarious as forecasts predict drier and windier weather in the coming days.

Saturday’s weather was more favorable, aiding fire crews in their struggle to control Canada’s worst-ever fire season, a disaster that has resulted in the destruction of property, thick smoke blanketing the air, and evacuation orders affecting tens of thousands.

Authorities were able to keep a massive wildfire at a distance of 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Yellowknife, which had been almost entirely evacuated, leaving nearly 20,000 residents to seek safety elsewhere.

Mike Westwick, the wildfire information officer for the city, spoke to The Big Big News, emphasizing, “We’re by no means out of the woods yet. We still have a serious situation. It’s not safe to return.”

In British Columbia, the city of Kelowna, with a population of 30,000, also remained threatened by the flames. This region alone is home to over 380 wildfires, with 150 out of control. The situation near Yellowknife is equally concerning, with 237 wildfires burning in the Northwest Territories.

During a Saturday news conference, Shane Thompson, the Northwest Territories’ minister of environment and climate change, acknowledged that a break in the weather had helped control the fires near Yellowknife but warned that even a little rain doesn’t make it safe for residents to return. Others stressed that the upcoming hot weather would only exacerbate the firefighting efforts.

Yellowknife’s Mayor, Rebecca Alty, urged citizens to stay away to ensure their safety, while also ensuring protection against looting in the nearly deserted city. Since the evacuation order, the city has become virtually empty, with residents escaping in their cars and emergency flights, including the final 39 hospital patients airlifted on a Canadian Forces plane.

For now, the escape route from Yellowknife is deemed safe, with approximately 2,600 people remaining, comprising emergency teams, firefighters, utility workers, police officers, and a few residents who chose to stay.

The wildfires’ relentless approach has forced residents like Charlotte Morritt to evacuate due to health concerns for her 4-month-old son. Firefighting efforts include dropping water and fire retardants, digging fire lines, and deploying hoses and pumps.

Canada has witnessed a record number of wildfires this year, impacting areas as far away as the U.S. In total, over 5,700 fires have burned more than 137,000 square kilometers (53,000 square miles).

The entire province of British Columbia was under a state of emergency on Saturday, with 35,000 people ordered to evacuate and an additional 30,000 on alert. Premier David Eby described the situation as “grim” and cautioned that it was rapidly changing.

Restrictions were placed on non-essential travel to affected areas to make accommodations available for those displaced and firefighters. Residents like Ian Stewart have evacuated cities like Kelowna, driving through congested traffic to find safety.

The situation even affected the U.S., with smoke and haze from British Columbia reaching the Seattle area, potentially impacting air quality. The incident was reported by Sharp from Portland, Maine, and Bellisle from Seattle, with contributions from Big Big News journalist Andrea Thomas in Chicago.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Canada wildfires

What cities in Canada were threatened by the wildfires?

Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, and Kelowna in British Columbia were threatened by the wildfires.

What measures were taken to combat the wildfires?

Firefighting efforts included dropping water and fire retardants, digging fire lines, deploying hoses and pumps, and monitoring streets and homes to protect against looting.

How many residents were evacuated from Yellowknife?

Nearly all of Yellowknife’s 20,000 residents were evacuated for safety.

What’s the total number of wildfires reported in Canada this season?

More than 5,700 fires have been reported across Canada, burning over 137,000 square kilometers (53,000 square miles).

How has the weather affected the firefighting efforts?

Milder weather on Saturday provided some help to the fire teams, but forecasts warn of drier and windier weather to come, making the situation more challenging.

Was any part of the United States affected by these Canadian wildfires?

Yes, a shift in the wind carried smoke and haze from British Columbia into the Seattle area, potentially impacting air quality.

What restrictions were placed in British Columbia due to the wildfires?

A state of emergency was declared in British Columbia, with 35,000 people ordered to evacuate and 30,000 on alert. Non-essential travel to fire-affected areas was restricted to free up accommodations for displaced residents and firefighters.

More about fokus keyword Canada wildfires

  • Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre
  • Government of British Columbia
  • Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Major news outlets like CBC, BBC, CNN, etc.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News