Category Archives: Forest Fires

Forest Fires

‘The whole country is not on fire’: Canadian tourism industry struggles as fires rage

The Canadian Press in the Globe and Mail
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Canada’s tourism industry is trying to put on its Sunday best this week, showcasing itself to more than 500 international travel agents and tour operators at the largest annual tourism convention in Canada. But as Rendez-vous Canada is taking place at the Edmonton Convention Centre, one of the biggest challenges Canada’s tourism industry is facing is playing out in technicolour just a few hundred kilometres away: wildfires. …Beth Potter, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, said the direct impact of wildfires is hard enough. But making matters worse is the fact that many people around the world see headlines about Canada being on fire, she said, then think nowhere in the country is safe to visit. …Last summer, tourism operators in southwestern Ontario told her about cancellations due to fires largely more than 3,500 kilometres away in B.C., she said.

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Wildfire smoke forecast: Poor air quality in Western Canada, haze in Ontario and Quebec

By Daniel Otis
CTV News
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Wildfires continue to impact air quality across Western Canada, with conditions expected to worsen today before improving on Thursday. Environment Canada has upgraded its air quality advisory in northern Alberta to reflect deteriorating conditions. Air quality warnings are now in effect for much of the northern part of the province, including communities like Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan and High Level, which are experiencing severely reduced air quality and low visibility due to wildfire smoke. “Winds are expected to shift this evening, along with some localized precipitation,” Environment Canada said in its air quality advisory. “As a result there may be some slight improvement in air quality for portions of the region on Thursday.” …Wildfires are also creating hazy conditions further afield, including in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and in Ontario and Quebec from Georgian Bay through Ottawa to Quebec City.

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First major wildfires of Canada’s season hit northern U.S. air quality

By Rebecca Falconer
Axios
May 13, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, United States

Officials in western Canada warned of “volatile wildfire activity,” as dozens of blazes burn in dry conditions across the country, triggering evacuation orders in affected regions and air quality alerts in several U.S. states this week. By the numbers: Most of the 139 blazes burning in the first major wildfires since Canada’s record season that finally abated in October were in British Columbia (46) and Alberta (46) as of early Tuesday, per the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. The CIFFC listed 41 of these fires as “out of control” — among them the Parker Lake fire in northern British Columbia, which has burned over 20,000 acres since it began on Friday and which was on Tuesday nearing the town of Fort Nelson, where evacuation orders have already been issued. The fires were impacting six U.S. states’ air quality into Tuesday: the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfire is now classified as under control

Government of Alberta
May 27, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfire is now classified as under control. This means that this wildfire is contained and will be extinguished. …There were many challenging days and long hours but it’s rewarding to see this wildfire has been updated to under control… at 18,745 hectares. The closest point of the fire remains at about 5.5 km from the Fort McMurray landfill and 4.5 km from the intersection of highways 63 and 881. Temperatures tomorrow will be approximately 23°C with winds out of the southwest 15km/h gusting 30km/h at times. There are 176 firefighters and 15 helicopters assigned to this wildfire.

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BC Wildfire Service sending crews to fire near Spences Bridge in B.C. Interior

Parksville Qualicum Beach News
May 27, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service is responding to a wildfire approximately five kilometres north of Spences Bridge. The Drinkwater Road wildfire (K60395) is reported to be 10 hectares in size. It is on the east side of the Thompson River above the CPKC mainline in an area of steep hillside and scattered trees. The wildfire is displaying rank 3 and 4 fire behaviour, meaning a vigorous surface fire with a moderate rate of spread. No structures are currently threatened. …“Three initial attack crews with a wildfire officer are en route. It was discovered within the last hour or so, and is estimated to be 10 hectares right now, but once crews are on site we’ll have a better idea of the size and what it’s like on the ground.” Colman added that two helicopters were also en route to the wildfire. A birddog is also on site.

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Fort Nelson, B.C., wildfire evacuees warned against early return

The Canadian Press in CBC News
May 25, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rob Fraser

Residents of the Fort Nelson where thousands of people have been forced to leave due to wildfires are being warned against trying to return home early. Rob Fraser, mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, which includes Fort Nelson, said that although officials are working hard to let residents come back before next Tuesday, “it is not currently safe. As we’re exercising our plan, if people jump the gun and come early and they have no permit, they will not be allowed through the checkpoint.” People trying to return early could create highway lineups that hinder health-care workers who need to get through, Fraser said. …The B.C. Wildfire Service said in its Friday update that the next chance of rain that can help the firefight will arrive Sunday, with up to six millimetres possible.

Additional coverage in the CBC News by Akshay Kulkarni: Fort Nelson, B.C., wildfire evacuees allowed to return home starting Monday

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Northwest Territories Wildfires: More crews arrive to fight Fort Liard blaze

By James McCarthy
Northern News Services Limited
May 20, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfire crews battling the blaze near Fort Liard are getting some help from around the NWT as they try to bring it under control. Monday’s update from NWT Fire showed that the wildfire measured 913 hectares and still sat 19 km southwest of the community. Winds out of the southwest were expected today, gusting up to 25 km/h, but the problem now is moisture in the air drying up. Mike Westwick, information officer for FS002 stated that the winds are calm enough for crews to be able to continue to make good progress on beating back the flames. …The job on Monday was to limit the fire’s growth on the west side of the Liard River in order to prevent it from crossing to the east, while getting structure protections in place in the community. There is still no structure loss as a result of this fire, Westwick added.

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No significant growth on wildfires near Fort Nelson, B.C.

By Lisa Steacy
CTV News
May 20, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfires burning near Fort Nelson, B.C., have not seen any significant growth in the past 24 hours, according to an update from officials Monday, who said conditions have not yet improved enough for evacuees to return. The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, in a statement, said crews continue to battle the out-of-control Parker Lake and Patry Creek fires. Structure protection crews are on the ground where fire guards are being built and helicopters are bucketing the blazes from above. The Emergency Operations Centre has also reopened in Fort Nelson after being moved out of the community last week. “While a positive move in terms of community readiness, conditions are not yet cleared for residents’ return due to wildfire and other community safety risks such as limited essential services,” the update says, reiterating that the move back into the community will be done in phases.

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Fort McMurray evacuation order ends as rain, firefighters slow wildfire

By Vincent McDermott
Fort McMurray Today
May 18, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The evacuation order for Fort McMurray is over. People are free to return to Abasand, Beacon Hill, Grayling Terrace and Prairie Creek. The state of local emergency is also over. People in the rest of the region no longer have to prepare for a potential evacuation. The wildfire that caused the evacuation on May 14, MWF-017, is still burning out of control. It is 19,493 hectares, and burning 5.5 kilometres from the Fort McMurray landfill and 4.5 kilometres from the intersections of highways 63 and 881. The new size follows a more accurate scan of the perimeter, not because the wildfire has shrunk. …“The incident management team is confident that the wildfire does not pose a threat to the community,” said Regional Fire Chief Jody Butz during a Saturday press conference. About 20mm of rain has drenched the forest surrounding the wildfire since Thursday evening. 

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Massive northwestern Manitoba fire has grown, province says in latest update

CBC News
May 16, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wildfire near Cranberry Portage has grown in size, but hasn’t moved any closer to the northwestern Manitoba community, the province said in its latest fire bulletin Thursday afternoon. The fire, north of Cranberry Portage and east of the city of Flin Flon, now covers approximately 37,000 hectares, the province says. Wednesday’s update said the fire covered 31,600 hectares.  The blaze is still approximately 1½ kilometres away from Cranberry Portage, which has seen residents evacuated to The Pas. The fire has also prompted evacuation orders from the nearby cottage subdivisions of Sourdough Bay, Whitefish Lake, Twin Lakes and Schist Lake North, as well as Bakers Narrows Provincial Park.

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Fort McMurray Wildfire Area Update

The Government of Alberta
May 16, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire danger is extreme in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. As of 6:30 p.m. today, the closest point of the fire remains about 5.5 km from the Fort McMurray landfill and 4.5 km from the intersection of highways 63 and 881. There was limited growth on the wildfire today. Rain showers helped lower fire activity and allowed firefighters to make good progress. More rain is expected overnight and tomorrow. Firefighters worked on building a containment line today and heavy equipment continued to work on fire guards to the southwest of Fort McMurray. Helicopters dropped water on hot spots with their buckets. Airtankers were unable to fly due to the weather. Heavy equipment will continue to work overnight. Three night vision helicopters will also be dropping water on hot spots overnight, if weather conditions permit. There are 172 firefighters, 22 helicopters and 57 pieces of heavy equipment currently assigned to the wildfire.

Related coverage in CBC: Fire threatening Fort McMurray could burn for weeks, maybe months

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Rainfall in Fort Nelson assists Parker Lake wildfire suppression efforts

By Steven Berard
Energetic City
May 16, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

FORT NELSON, B.C. — Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) Mayor Rob Fraser says some rain fell on and around Fort Nelson on Wednesday, helping firefighters battle the Parker Lake wildfire. “We got 9.8 millimetres of rain last night, and it’s helped the situation a lot,” Fraser says. “The fire is being held in place and is somewhat suppressed right now.” “It was not much more than what you’d expect from a garden hose and a sprinkler, so it will help with the fire, but it will not extinguish the fire.” According to Environment Canada, more showers along with wet flurries are in the forecast for Fort Nelson Thursday, including up to 10 millimetres of rain in southern areas. Sarah Hall, an information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says the reported size of the fire is larger than before but that the difference is mostly down to “more accurate mapping” of the blaze.

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Wildfires are threatening to destroy their town. Here’s why they’ve stayed behind

By Manuela Vega and Kevin Jiang
The Toronto Star
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ian Langstaff

FORT NELSON, BC —  an evacuation order for residents in the small British Columbia town of Fort Nelson since Friday, Ian Langstaff is staying put. “I’m hoping to help save our town,” the mechanic and business owner told the Star. The community is preparing for two out-of-control wildfires. …Langstaff contended the community has a “very robust industrial sector” that could help fight the fire, but feels it has been widely disregarded. …The mayor said the municipality’s emergency operations centre called as many people as they had numbers for — convincing some to leave. There are still plenty of essential staff in town, he said. …Fraser has urged residents not to return to their homes and said emergency crews need to focus on their work rather than looking out for residents heading into harm’s way.

 

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Fort McMurray wildfire remains volatile but weaker winds expected to ease the danger

By Wallis Snowdon
CBC News
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wildfire that forced more than 6,600 people from their homes in Fort McMurray continues to grow, threatening a northeastern Alberta community that was ravaged by fire eight years ago. Four Fort McMurray neighbourhoods — Beacon Hill, Abasand, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace — were evacuated Tuesday as a wildfire grew dangerously close. Evacuees are being told they will likely remain out their homes for at least another week, possibly longer. As of Wednesday morning, the fire had consumed nearly 21,000 hectares of forest, after almost doubling in size the day before, and moved closer to the community as it spread rapidly toward the northwest. After days of volatile fire activity, a favourable change in the weather is expected Wednesday with cooler temperatures and weaker winds that are expected to push the fire away from homes and businesses. 

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Drivers diverted on Alaska Highway as Western Canada wildfire rages on

By Lex Yelverton and Casandra Manci
Alaska News Source
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West, United States

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Parker Lake fire in Canada is still raging on, highly visible, and causing a potential threat to public safety for those living there and passing through the area. The BC Wildfire Service believes the fire — near Fort Nelson — was human-caused, and is burning out of control. According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire is 49.2 square miles in size and has caused two active evacuation orders, which has caused the diversion of vehicles on the Alaska Highway. A portion of the Alaska Highway is closed, as the wildfire is between Suicide Hill Pullout and Milepost 375, according to Drive British Columbia. …A bit of rain, increased humidity, and cooler temperatures are expected for the next few days, but most of British Columbia continues to remain dry, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

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Forecast turns favourable in fight against wildfire threatening northern B.C. town

The Canadian Press in Castanet
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A low-pressure system moving into northern British Columbia is expected to dampen wildfire activity that has forced several thousand people to flee their homes in and around Fort Nelson, the BC Wildfire Service says. Fire officials said Wednesday that cooler temperatures in the low teens along with higher humidity should reduce the likelihood of intense fire activity. There’s also potential for light rain, which would further lower the risk of the fire spreading closer to the town of about 4,700 residents who were put under an evacuation order on Friday. …The BC Wildfire Service had said early on Wednesday that there was potential for gusty winds to fan “aggressive” fire behaviour in the area. But the latest report says overall conditions are favourable for firefighting, with 19 helicopters and 88 wildfire service personnel assigned to the blaze in addition to municipal firefighters from the region.

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Canada’s oil sands hub threatened by wildfire, sparking large evacuations

By David Ljunggren and Mia Williams
Reuters
May 14, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

ALBERTA — A large wildfire is slowly approaching the major Canadian oil sands city of Fort McMurray and around 6,000 people in four suburbs have been told to evacuate, local officials said on Tuesday. The fire, fueled by tinder-dry conditions and high winds, has been threatening the city in the western province of Alberta since last week. It is now about 7.5 km away from the Fort McMurray landfill, authorities said in an update. They also expressed hope that a favorable wind shift was expected Tuesday night, which could lead to winds from the west-northwest pushing the fire away from Fort McMurray. In addition to the harm that may befall people and property, the fire puts a large portion of Canada’s oil production at risk. …Alberta Wildfire Information Officer Josee St-Onge earlier said the blaze grew significantly on Tuesday and noted winds from the southwest were gusting as high as 40 km per hour.

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Massive northern Manitoba wildfire ‘a very dramatic, serious situation,’ premier says after touring area

CBC News
May 14, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wab Kinew

Premier Wab Kinew toured areas near an out-of-control wildfire in northwestern Manitoba on Tuesday. The fire, discovered Thursday just north of Cranberry Portage and east of Flin Flon, is believed to have been started by lightning strikes. It was intensified by high winds and extremely dry conditions over the weekend, forcing the community of Cranberry Portage to be evacuated. In a Tuesday afternoon update, the province said the fire was about 31,600 hectares in size and about 1½ kilometres from Cranberry Portage. Kinew visited Bakers Narrows, Flin Flon and The Pas and got a look at from above during a helicopter ride. …The wildfire is not yet threatening Flin Flon, but the telecommunications system has been severed, cutting cell phone service and internet access. The city has created a patchwork of communications using the Starlink satellite system to access the internet as much as possible.

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Fear, anxiety as thousands flee their homes in Fort McMurray due to threat of wildfire

By Mrinali Anchan
CBC News
May 15, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thousands of Fort McMurray residents headed south to safety as a large out-of-control wildfire drew closer to their community, but many are worried they won’t have a home to return to. An evacuation order was issued Tuesday afternoon for the neighbourhoods of Beacon Hill, Abasand, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace, as the wildfire southwest of the community continues to grow. Other areas in Fort McMurray remain on evacuation alert and residents need to be ready to leave on short notice. …As of Tuesday night, the wildfire threatening the community has covered nearly 21,000 hectares as shifting winds and rising temperatures continue accelerating its growth and pushing the flames closer to the community. All residents in the evacuation zone were ordered to leave by 4 p.m. MT. …For some Fort McMurray residents, having to leave home due to the threat of wildfire is a familiar and bitter experience.

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Fort Nelson wildfire: Officials worry wind could push wildfire into town today

Vancouver Sun
May 13, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The evacuated northeast B.C. municipality of Fort Nelson is bracing for strong, persistent westerly winds Monday that could push the rampaging Parker Lake wildfire closer to town. About 4,700 people have been told to evacuate in Fort Nelson and Fort Nelson First Nations, due to the fast-growing fire burning about 2½ kilometres northwest of city limits. “The next 48 hours will be a challenging situation for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality given forecast ongoing westerly winds and extremely dry and volatile fuels in the area,” said Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma in a news conference on Monday. “We may begin to see volatile wildfire activity later this afternoon.” …Crews are also using heavy equipment and putting in fire guards to slow the spread of the fire. Strong winds expected overnight did not materialize, and the size of the fire held steady into Monday, he noted. 

Related coverage in Business in Vancouver by the Associated Press: Some people stay as blaze with ‘extreme fire behaviour’ singes Fort Nelson, B.C.

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Wildfire that forced evacuation of Cranberry Portage could take weeks to put out: wildfire director

By Darren Bernhardt & Rachel Ferstl
CBC News
May 13, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wildfire that’s threatening the northwestern Manitoba community of Cranberry Portage hasn’t gotten bigger, but first responders could still be fighting it weeks from now, a provincial wildfire official said. The entire population of Cranberry Portage evacuated Saturday as a massive blaze marched toward the community, devouring trees on thousands of hectares of land. Earl Simmons, the director of the Manitoba Wildfire Service, said the fire hasn’t moved or gotten smaller. Though the province said Sunday it was about 35,000 hectares in size, it is actually about 31,500 hectares (or 77,838 acres), after subtracting the space that bodies of water take up. …”We could be fighting that fire a month from now,” Simmons told reporters outside his department’s office on Monday afternoon. …In his 40 years of experience with wildfires, Simmons has “never seen a fire move like this fire moved,” thanks to high winds and extremely dry conditions in the area.

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A town in western Canada prepares for a possible ‘last stand’ as wildfires rage in British Columbia

Associated Press News
May 13, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

FORT NELSON, British Columbia — An intense wildfire could reach a town in western Canada this week, fire experts and officials warned, based on forecasts of winds that have fueled the out-of-control blaze, which has forced the evacuation of thousands of people. The British Columbia Wildfire Service said the wildfire was burning 2½ kilometers (around 1½ miles) northwest of Fort Nelson. More than 4,700 people have evacuated after an order was issued on Friday. …Cliff Chapman, the service’s director of operations, said they were fortunate that stronger winds didn’t materialize overnight, but said that winds were expected to continue to blow west over the next day or two. …Fire crews and emergency workers were preparing for a “last stand” if the fire advances into the town, said Rob Fraser, mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality based in Fort Nelson.

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Wildfire south of Fort McMurray grew on Monday, Fort Chipewyan wildfire held

By Vincent McDermott
Fort McMurray Today
May 13, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire burning southwest of Fort McMurray grew west and northeast on Monday. …The last update on the wildfire, which is being called MWF-017, was that it was 6,572 hectares and 16 kilometres southwest of the city as of 9:30 a.m. The cause is still being investigated. Two helicopters equipped with night vision will battle the wildfire overnight with their water buckets. Alberta Wildfire spokesperson Christie Tucker hopes scattered showers, and cooler and wetter overnight conditions will slow the wildfire. An evacuation warning is still active for people in Fort McMurray, Anzac, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, Gregoire Lake Estates, Saprae Creek Estates and Rickards Landing Industrial Park. …Wildfire conditions in most of Alberta’s north range from high to extreme risk. Tucker says there are 45 wildfires burning across the province. Between Friday morning and Sunday evening, 18 new wildfires sparked across Alberta.

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Thousands of Canadians have been forced to evacuate from raging wildfires. Now harmful smoke is blowing into the US

By Paradise Afshar and Sara Smart
CNN
May 13, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West, United States

Thousands across Canada have been urged to evacuate as the smoke from blazing wildfires endangers air quality and visibility and begins to waft into the US. Some 3,200 residents in northeastern British Columbia were under an evacuation order Saturday afternoon as the Parker Lake fire raged on in the area, spanning more than 4,000 acres. Meanwhile, evacuation alerts are in place for parts of Alberta as the MWF-017 wildfire burns out of control near Fort McMurray in the northeastern area of the province, officials said. The fire had burned about 16,000 acres as of Sunday morning. Smoke from the infernos has caused Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement that extends from British Columbia to Ontario. …Smoke from Canada has also begun to blow into the US, prompting an alert across Minnesota due to unhealthy air quality. The smoke is impacting cities including the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.

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Thousands ordered to evacuate Fort Nelson, B.C., due to wildfire

CBC News
May 10, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

More than 3,000 people were ordered to leave their homes Friday as a fast-growing wildfire advanced toward the community of Fort Nelson, part of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality in northeast B.C, prompting an evacuation for the entire community as well as the neighbouring Fort Nelson First Nation. The Parker Lake fire was about half a square kilometre in size at 5:25 p.m. MT Friday, but quickly grew to four square kilometres an hour later. By 9 a.m. MT on Saturday, it had quadrupled in size to 16.9 square kilometres. Fort Nelson uses mountain time year-round. The service said at 10 p.m. MT the fire was 12 kilometres west of Fort Nelson, located near the border with Yukon, about 1,600 kilometres northeast of Vancouver and 500 kilometres north of Prince George. It was fuelled by ongoing dry conditions in the region as well as strong winds, which were forecast to gust as high as 70 kilometres an hour.

Additional coverage in the Vancouver Sun, by Chuck Chiang (Canadian Press): Fort Nelson braces for ‘last stand’ as high winds expected to push wildfire toward town

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Wildfire evacuation notice issued for major Canada oil town Fort McMurray

Reuters
May 12, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

An evacuation alert has been issued for Fort McMurray, Alberta, as an out-of-control fire rages southwest of town, making it among the first actions ahead of the wildfire season. In a notice late on Friday, the Alberta government said the wildfire danger is “extreme” in the Fort McMurray Forest Area and out of control at 1,000 hectares in size. It said strong winds are expected on Saturday, as a cold front continues to pass over the region. Helicopter pilots using night vision equipment surveilled the wildfire area overnight. …Residents in Saprea Creek Estates are also placed on alert from the municipality of Wood Buffalo. In British Columbia, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality issued an evacuation order for the town of Fort Nelson. The federal government has warned Canada faces another “catastrophic” wildfire season with higher-than-normal spring and summer temperatures across much of the country, boosted by El Nino weather conditions.

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Massive out-of-control wildfire near Flin Flon moves toward Cranberry Portage, forces evacuations

By Rachel Ferstl
CBC News
May 12, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A massive wildfire in Manitoba, 38 kilometres long and 12 kilometres wide, has swallowed up thousands of hectares of land near Flin Flon, and is making its way toward Cranberry Portage, the province said in its fourth fire bulletin on Sunday afternoon. Residents from Cranberry Portage evacuated to The Pas after an order was issued Saturday night. The blaze was first detected on Thursday and is deemed out-of-control on the province’s wildfire map. It has grown to about 35,000 hectares thanks to high winds and drought conditions, up from the about 3,000 hectares reported as of Saturday afternoon. …Another out-of-control fire near the community of Wanless, which is north of The Pas but south of Cranberry Portage, has grown to about 1,500 hectares in size since it was first detected on Thursday. Crews are trying to protect the hydro line between the latter two communities. Both fires started due to natural causes.

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Recap: Wildfire Resilience and Awareness Week

Tree Frog Forestry News
April 26, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

On April 1 of this month, the Western Canada SFI Implementation Committee and the Tree Frog News launched the second annual Wildfire Resilience and Awareness Week. If you missed it, we’re happy to share a recap of the articles we featured. Thanks to all who participated! 

Working to improve the accuracy of fuel typing in Canada
By Kate Bezooyen, MSc (Candidate), FIT; Gregory Greene, PhD; John Davies, RPF
Forsite Consultants Ltd.

Helping Students Understand the Nature of Fire
Project Learning Tree Canada

Coastal Fire Centre prevention plan under development for 2024 wildfire season
By Rebecca Grogan, Communications Assistant
Coastal Fire Centre

Private Land Burning – A Message to Landowners and the Province
By Bruce Blackwell M.Sc. RPF RPBio.
B.A. Blackwell and Associates Ltd.

A Look Into Fire Mitigation Best Practices And Research In BC
By Heidi Walsh, RPF
DRS Phoenix Connect

New centre at UBC to advance wildfire research, collaboration and innovation
By Lori Daniels, Koerner Chair in Wildfire Coexistence
UBC Faculty of Forestry

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‘Tactical evacuation’ underway near Chetwynd, B.C., due to out-of-control wildfire

By Kaija Jussinoja
CTV News
April 25, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Police and firefighters are going door-to-door telling people who live in the vicinity of a wildfire burning out of control near Chetwynd they need to evacuate. In a social media post Wednesday evening, the BC Wildfire Service says local RCMP and the Chetwynd Fire Department are doing a “tactical evacuation” near the fire, which was discovered around 3:45 p.m. In just a few hours, the fire has grown to 40 hectares in size, according to the agency. A 10-kilometre stretch of Highway 97 has also been shut down in both directions due to the wildfire. Drive BC says the closures start four kilometres away from Chetwynd—a town in B.C.’s northeast roughly 300 kilometres north of Prince George—and end 14 kilometres away.

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Forest fire hazard staying low across northwestern Ontario

By Kris Ketonen
CBC News
May 24, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada East

Wet weather and cooler temperatures are expected to keep northwestern Ontario’s forest fire hazard low. This week’s storm brought heavy rain and even some snow to the region, and while the skies have been sunny since, that isn’t expected to last, said Alison Bezubiak, fire information officer with Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services. …”But in the short term … the northwest region has received significant precipitation over the last few days in the form of both heavy rains and even snow in some parts of the northern sectors,” Bezubiak said. “Another developing weather system is expected to bring more rainfall on Friday and into the weekend.” …”Every fire season is different,” Bezubiak said. “Since the start of fire season on April 1, the northwest region has confirmed a total of 30 wildland fires that have burned across 44 hectares.”

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Forest fire out of control near Cobalt

By Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles
North Bay Nugget
May 24, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada East

A 164 hectare forest fire, three kilometres southeast of Cobalt, remains out of control, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “A team of ground crews and aerial fire suppression aircraft from Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services remain on the scene of North Bay 5 at the time of this update. It is currently not under control. Please remain clear of the area to ensure the safety of the public and emergency personnel.” Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services would like to remind the public to use caution when performing any outdoor burning.

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Wildfire scene lighter so far compared to prior years

By Carl Clutchey
Fort Frances Times
May 21, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada East

At least one wildfire lit up in Thunder Bay’s orbit this week, but damp conditions are keeping the risk for more fires in the region in the low- to-moderate range, and less area has been burned compared to other years, provincial officials said. “Widespread wet weather over the next few days is expected to lower hazard conditions in areas that receive rainfall,” an Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) bulletin said on Thursday night. On Tuesday, a fire about five kilometres north of Sistonen’s Corners in the area of Forbes Centre Road reached half a hectare in size before it was declared out, the bulletin said. According to the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services agency, most wildfires at this time of year are caused by human activity, such as brush-burning and rail grinding.

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Wildfire near Fort Nelson, B.C., is being held, as evacuation order ends

By Ashley Joannou
The Canadian Press in Yahoo! News
May 27, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

FORT NELSON, B.C. — Rain and the efforts of firefighters have brought some relief from wildfires in British Columbia’s northeast. More than 100 fires continue to burn in B.C., but evacuation orders that forced thousands to flee Fort Nelson more than two weeks ago lifted Monday, residents began returning home, and the blaze that threatened the town has been deemed no longer out of control. The Alaska Highway reopened, while 400 kilometres to the south a separate evacuation alert affecting the Doig River First Nation community ended. The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, that includes Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation, jointly rescinded evacuation orders at 8 a.m., lifting roadblocks and clearing the way for people to go home, 17 days after they were ordered to flee as the Parker Lake wildfire came within a few kilometres of town. The fire is now classified as “being held.”

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Spruce Creek fire burns nearly 5,000 acres in southwestern Colorado, sparks air quality alert

By Lauren Penington
The Denver Post
May 23, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

State health officials are warning of bad air quality in southwestern Colorado on Thursday after a wildfire burning in the San Juan National Forest grew to nearly 5,000 acres. The lightning-sparked Spruce Creek fire ignited on May 14 on U.S. Forest Service land about 21 miles north of Mesa Verde, fire officials said. As of Wednesday, the fire was burning on 1,867 acres, according to fire records. The burn area more than doubled overnight, flames jumping to reach 4,962 acres of San Juan National Forest land as lower humidity and warmer temperatures worsened fire conditions. Heavy smoke choked many areas in southwestern Colorado on Thursday morning, especially along Colorado 145c south of Rico to Dolores, according to a Thursday news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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‘Very aggressive’ wildfire hops Northwest Territories-Alberta border near Highway 1

By Ollie Williams
Cabin Radio
May 23, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, US West

A wildfire that has menaced the highway along the NWT-Alberta border for the past two weeks pushed north as it flared up on Thursday. Fire HTZ001 has predominantly been burning on the Alberta side of the border near Highway 35, causing a string of road closures. On Thursday evening, NWT Fire said the fire had “made an excursion in the NWT” and was about 300 metres from Highway 1 shortly before 6pm. A road closure was in place as of 6pm from Steen River on Highway 35 up to Enterprise on Highway 1.  In recent days, pilot cars have been used to guide traffic through closed stretches of highway when wildfires are burning nearby. NWT Fire said crews had set up sprinklers to protect the 60th Parallel Visitor Information Centre and “other assets near Highway 1,” and those sprinklers were running on Thursday evening. 

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Wildcat Fire in Tonto National Forest grows to 14K acres as more resources fight blaze

By Sasha Hupka
Arizona Republic
May 20, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Fire officials were calling in more resources to fight a fast-growing wildfire in the northeast Valley Monday morning after it nearly tripled in size within 24 hours. The Wildcat Fire, which is burning in the Cave Creek Ranger District, was reported Saturday morning. Its cause is still unknown. The fire has consumed more than 14,000 acres of land. It was 0% contained as of Monday morning. About 300 people are fighting the blaze, with officials calling in increasingly more federal, state, county and local resources. That included aviation resources and medical teams, Tonto National Forest spokesperson Mike Reichling said. …Fire officials expected the wildfire to continue moving southeast on Monday through rugged terrain dominated by grass and brush, per InciWeb. They’re hoping personnel can find opportunities to construct firelines and plan out ways to protect infrastructure and natural resources in the area.

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Crews still battling wildfire near Isabella

By John Myers
The Duluth News Tribune
May 16, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

ISABELLA — An intentional fire set by Superior National Forest crews to reduce fuels for future forest fires has grown into a wildfire across 265 acres but was being slowed Thursday by light rain, cooler temperatures, higher humidity and firefighting crews. The fire started Wednesday as an intentional prescribed burn near Fish Fry Lake in Lake County, just north of Minnesota Highway 1  in the Superior National Forest. It grew out of control Wednesday afternoon in gusty winds. As of noon Thursday, the fire had burned 265 acres. The original fire was intended at about 60 acres. …The Fry fire was one of several planned and already conducted this spring across the forest to reduce areas that have a heavy buildup of dead and drying trees that would be ripe for a future wildfire, such as areas hit by wind storms or infested with the spruce budworm insect.

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Pinelands wildfire reached more than 500 acres before being contained

By Frank Kummer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
April 25, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

A wildfire in the Pinelands reached 510 acres Wednesday before crews were able to fully contain it overnight, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Forest Fire Service officials notified the public at 8 a.m. Thursday that the blaze, which has been dubbed the County Line Wildfire, had been 100% contained off Jackson Road in Wharton State Forest, the largest state forest and within the Pinelands National Reserve. The fire burned in both Waterford Township, Camden County, and Shamong Township, Burlington County. No one was injured, and the cause remains under investigation. Forest Fire Service staff was still on the scene as of Thursday morning and will continue to monitor “areas of concern” until there is significant rain. Officials say smoke may be visible for a while, and motorists should be aware of the hazard.

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Wildfire in New Jersey consumes more than 400 acres of land

By Jim Murdoch and Matt Trapani
News 12 New Jersey
April 24, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

New Jersey’s first major wildfire of the year broke out Wednesday morning in Wharton State Forest in the Waterford section of Camden County. Dozens of firefighters came to the scene to keep the fire from spreading further. As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said the fire consumed around 400 acres of land and is about 75% contained. The fire was first spotted around 9 a.m. and called into the Forest Fire Service. “When we arrived on location, the fire was approximately 50 acres in size as units arrived on location. The fire was burning low ground and was hung up for the most part but there were still active parts of the fire,” said Jay Wyatt, a section forest fire warden for the NJFFS. Despite recent rains this month, the area has been dry for several days, with low humidity and gusty winds, creating conditions that allow the spread of wildfires.

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Chile arrests firefighter for blaze that killed 137

By Dearbail Jordan
BBC News
May 24, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Chilean authorities have arrested a firefighter and a forestry worker on suspicion of starting the fire which killed at least 137 people in February. One of the men was employed by the National Forestry Corporation which is responsible for fighting forest fires, police director Eduardo Cerna said. The suspects have been remanded in custody, charged with arson resulting in death. The fire – was country’s deadliest – devastated the Valparaíso region, which is more than 122km (75 miles) from Chile’s capital, Santiago. …Officials allege that several fires were started simultaneously, after which high temperatures and wind caused the flames to spread. More than 16,000 people were affected by the fire which destroyed homes and devastated the region, which is home to Vina del Mar, a popular holiday destination.

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