CNN

Canadians evacuate due to wildfires as air quality deteriorates

May 12, 2024, 6:30 PM | Updated: May 13, 2024, 4:11 pm

Smoke from wildfires blankets the city as a couple has a picnic in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, May...

Smoke from wildfires blankets the city as a couple has a picnic in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, May 11. Thousands across Canada were urged to evacuate from blazing wildfires on Saturday, and the smoke emanating from them could be another danger. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP via CNN Newsource)

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP via CNN Newsource)

Originally Published: 12 MAY 24 04:45 ET

(CNN) — Thousands across Canada were urged to evacuate from blazing wildfires on Saturday, and the smoke emanating from them could be another danger lasting for the next two days — resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Related: Utah launches furnace filter exchange program to improve indoor air quality

Approximately 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 were in place for parts of Alberta as the MWF-017 wildfire spread to nearly 5,000 acres.

Smoke from the infernos has caused Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement that extends from British Columbia to Ontario.

Residents in portions of British Columbia “are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours,” Saturday’s alert said. Smoke coming from northeastern British Columbia is causing “very poor air quality and reduced visibility” in parts of Alberta, according to the alert.

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

“Conditions should begin to improve Sunday night for much of the province. Over northwestern Alberta conditions are likely to remain poor through Monday or possibly Tuesday,” the alert said.

In parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, wildfire smoke could bring periods of poor air quality and reduced visibility, the statement said.

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

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

Thousands forced to evacuate from wildfires in British Columbia

An evacuation order was in place for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and the Fort Nelson First Nation, according to a joint press release on Saturday. About 2,800 residents from the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and about 450 residents from the Fort Nelson First Nation were asked to evacuate.

Related: Coping with poor air quality

“In moments of uncertainty, unity becomes critical,” Mayor Rob Fraser of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality said in the press release, “Please evacuate calmly, our collective strength will be our resilience.”

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality information officer Jaylene MacIver told CNN “there has generally been good compliance,” though some residents chose to remain in place.

Over 90% of the approximately 450 residents of Fort Nelson First Nation evacuated the area, the emergency operations director Terry Cavaliere told CNN.

As the wildfire continues to burn, residents were warned that some utilities and communications could be impacted. Emergency medical services, groceries and other resources are also scarce since evacuation is the main priority.

Residents in Alberta prepare to evacuate

Evacuation alerts are also in effect for parts of Alberta as wildfire MWF-017 burns about 10 miles southwest of Fort McMurray, according to a statement from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The alerts were active in Fort McMurray, Saprae Creek Estates, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation #468, Anzac and Rickards Landing Industrial Park.

Related: A major air quality bill just got revived and is passing the Utah legislature

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

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

Fire restrictions will remain in effect in the area until conditions improve, according to Alberta Wildfire.

“Five crews of wildland firefighters, nine helicopters and airtankers worked on the southeast perimeter today,” Alberta Wildfire said. “Windy conditions challenged firefighting efforts. Heavy equipment also worked to build a fire guard on the east side of this wildfire.”

On Sunday, an incident management team will be managing the wildfire with an additional crew and air support, according to Alberta Wildfire.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

CNN

Afghan relatives offer prayers during a burial ceremony near the graves of victims who lost their l...

Niamh Kennedy and Radina Gigova, CNN

At least 300 people killed by flash floods in Afghanistan

At least 300 people have died in flash flooding that has ravaged northern Afghanistan in recent days, the Word Food Programme said Sunday.

12 days ago

The Apple Store at Towson Town Center Mall in Maryland is pictured. Apple Store workers in Towson, ...

Jordan Valinsky, CNN

Apple Store workers in Maryland vote to authorize strike

Apple Store workers in Towson, Maryland made history by voting late May 11 in favor of authorizing a strike.

12 days ago

Salvage crew members work on the deck of the cargo ship Dali on Friday, May 10....

Nicole Grether and Gloria Pazmino, CNN

Crews could use explosives to demolish part of Baltimore’s Key Bridge

Crews are expected to execute a plan to use small explosives to break apart a massive chunk of the Baltimore bridge that collapsed.

12 days ago

The sun is rising with a flare over Korla, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, on May 10....

Brian Fung, CNN

Why tonight’s massive solar storm could disrupt communications and GPS systems

An unusual amount of solar activity due to a solar storm this week could disrupt some of the most important technologies society relies on.

14 days ago

A customer wipes sweat from their face as they work out on a treadmill inside a Planet Fitness Inc....

Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Planet Fitness will raise its $10 membership plan for the first time in 26 years

Planet Fitness will raise the price of its “classic” membership from $10 a month to $15 for new members beginning in the summer.

15 days ago

French bakers try not to crack the baguette when it comes out of a large rotating oven....

Amarachi Orie and Xiaofei Xu, CNN

French bakers claim world record for longest baguette

French bakers have taken the record for the longest baguette ever made.

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Canadians evacuate due to wildfires as air quality deteriorates