Home Headlines Wildfires rage without control in Canada

Wildfires rage without control in Canada

by Yucatan Times
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EDMONTON, Alberta — As acrid smoke filled the air, turning the sky around her sleepy hometown, Fox Creek, Alberta, a garish blood orange, Nicole Clarke said she felt a sense of terror.

With no time to collect family photographs, she grabbed her two young children, hopped into her pickup truck, and sped away, praying she wouldn’t drive into the blaze’s menacing path.

“This feels like a Canadian Armageddon, like a bad horror film,” said Clarke, a 37-year-old hair stylist, standing outside her truck, a large hamper of dirty laundry piled in the back.

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In a country revered for placid landscapes and predictability, weeks of out-of-control wildfires raging across western Canada have ushered in a potent sense of fear, threatening a region that is the epicenter of the country’s oil and gas sector.

Climate research suggests that heat and drought associated with global warming are major reasons for the increase in bigger and stronger fires.

Amid frequent fire updates dominating national television news broadcasts, the blazes have also helped unite a vast and sometimes polarized nation, with volunteers, firefighters and army reservists from other provinces rushing in to lend a hand.

Roughly 29,000 people in Alberta have been forced from their homes by the recent bout of wildfires, though that number has been cut in half in recent days as fires subsided.

Clarke said her family had been staying in cheap motels since they were ordered about a week ago to evacuate. But she and her boyfriend were unemployed and money was quickly running out.

“I don’t know if I’ll have a home to return to,” she added Thursday, sobbing.

The fires have produced such thick smoke that during recess, children in some towns have remained in their classrooms rather than risk smoke inhalation outside. Dozens of residents left in such a frantic panic that they left pets behind.

On Highway 43, a long stretch of Alberta highway peppered by small, evacuated towns, the thick layer of smoke blanketing the road on Thursday conjured the feeling of a dystopia.

TYT Newsroom

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