Hundreds of wildfires ravage Canada

2015-07-10 07:39
Kevin Deng andCasey Zaharoff, members of the Canadian Forces, put out a hotspot from wildfires near Montreal Lake. (Jeff McIntosh, AP)

Kevin Deng andCasey Zaharoff, members of the Canadian Forces, put out a hotspot from wildfires near Montreal Lake. (Jeff McIntosh, AP)

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Ottawa - Large areas in Canada were battling several hundred fierce forest fires on Thursday that have caused thousands to flee their homes, local authorities said.

A total of 118 fires, including about 20 that authorities have classified as out of control, were blazing in Saskatchewan alone, according to a latest report.

Troops have begun arriving in the central province, where the Canadian government said it would send up to 1 400 personnel including a firefighting force.

More than 13 000 people are still living in community centers several hundred kilometers away from their homes and in the neighboring province of Alberta, after being evacuated around a week ago.

"It's difficult for them," said Jim Reiter, Saskatchewan minister of government relations, adding that their return date is not known due to changing weather conditions.

Particularly violent blazes have ravaged Saskatchewan's north, in areas populated by native peoples, while two other provinces are also ablaze.

Unusual drought and high seasonal temperatures have fueled the outbreak, Reiter said.

In British Colombia, Canada's westernmost province, new fires have been declared nearly every day, with evacuation advisories issued for the Rocky Mountain area.

Firefighters have also carried out evacuations in an area 500km north of Vancouver.

A respiratory warning for the eastern side of Vancouver Island was in effect.

"This situation is expected to persist until meteorological conditions change," the provincial ministry of environment said.

In Alberta, nearly 100 fires are active, 11 of which were declared in the last 24 hours, the province's fire service said.

Read more on:    canada  |  environment

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