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article imageFires burning out of control in Alberta linked to climate crisis

By Karen Graham     Jun 2, 2019 in Environment
The Chuckegg Creek Fire in Northern Alberta has grown to 280,000 hectares (691,895 acres) and is just one of about 10 wildfires burning out of control in a region of the old-growth boreal forest.
The Chuckegg Creek fire near High Level has forced a re-evacuation of residents who were forced from their homes two weeks ago Now uncertain wind conditions have increased the risks for safety.
"I know this is not the news that you were expecting and I sincerely apologize to everybody because I was positive we would be able to bring everybody home this weekend,” High Level Mayor Crystal McAteer said in a Facebook update on Saturday afternoon.
Continued hot and dry conditions along with variable, gusty winds have proved a challenge to firefighting efforts and safety.
There have been no homes or businesses damaged to date around High Level, but the threat remains high in the area. Alberta Wildfire has 385 firefighters, along with 130 structural firefighters. There are 26 helicopters.
In the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement — 15 homes and two outbuildings have been destroyed and Fire information officer Claire Allen told CTV Edmonton the Paddle Prairie area continues to be the main battleground, but that could change, depending on the winds.
Several fires in the Slave Lake area continue to burn out of control, but growth has been minimal, according to fire officials. Evacuations have been ordered for the Trout Lake Community, Chipewyan Lakes, the Hamlet of Wabasca, Bigstone Cree Nation and Marten Beach as a result of the blazes.
A big concern with fire officials is the area between Highway 35 and the Peace River. There is the worry that the eastern flank of the fire could spread to the northeast and possibly threaten communities east of High Level.
*June 1  2019 at 3:00 p.m.*
The 8 hour evacuation alert is simply a notification to allow you to pr...
*June 1, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.* The 8 hour evacuation alert is simply a notification to allow you to prepare for potential evacuation. You are not required to evacuate at this time. If an evacuation is issued, you will be given up to 8 hours’ notice beforehand.
Mackenzie County Government
The climate change link
Located in the northwestern corner of the province, Mackenzie county is the largest county in Alberta. The County offers a mix of flat arable land with boreal forest, thus accounting for active agriculture, forestry, and tourism industries.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney believes there are a number of factors, including climate change that have contributed to the out-of-control forest fires over the last two weeks.
"We have huge patches of very old, boreal forest where there have not been fires for, in some cases, 80 or 90 years,” he said. “All of the forestry experts will tell you that these regions of Alberta have been overdue for a major forest fire and our forests have been growing older."
On Friday, Canada's federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that climate change was linked to the wildfires and recent floods in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
"This is one of the obvious manifestations of climate change," Goodale said in Regina. "A few weeks ago the issue was flooding in many parts of Canada and now the issue is wildfires."
More about Alberta, Wildfires, Out of control, Climate crisis, megafire
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