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Wildfires burn across Canada, oil-rich areas at risk

Taslima Jamal

Canada’s Alberta province is under the grip of a terrible fire

Canada’s Alberta province is under the grip of a terrible fire. The uncontrollable fire has already spread over 9,500 hectares. Authorities have issued evacuation orders to residents of Fort McMurray, an area rich in tar sands (oil). News from BBC and Al Jazeera.

Alberta’s Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo issued an evacuation notice to residents Tuesday afternoon. Residents in the Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace areas were ordered to evacuate their homes within two hours as the fire continued to spread.

According to the municipal authorities, the fire is spreading rapidly in the areas. Regional emergency services continue to work to contain the fire. But if people move, it will be easier to protect the surrounding areas from fires.

Alberta is Canada’s oil-rich province. Tar sands (oil-bituminous ore) are present in the region in wide areas. The authorities fear that the danger will be worse if the fire spreads to the tar sand area.

Alberta wildfire authorities say the fire is burning about 15 km southwest of Fort McMurray. Gradually it is approaching the city. Exact distance cannot be determined due to fire and smoke.

The Fort McMurray area has been hit by devastating wildfires before. In 2016, a terrible fire in the city destroyed hundreds of houses, businesses and other structures, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. More than 100,000 residents were evacuated from Fort McMurray. Oil production was stopped for some time.

Canada suffered its worst wildfires last year. In 2023, about 7,000 fires occurred in different regions of the country. An area of one and a half million hectares was burnt. At least 9 firemen lost their lives while fighting the fire. More than 250,000 residents were evacuated to safe shelters.

Experts say climate change is causing a record number of wildfires in Europe, including Canada. The higher temperatures have also increased the duration of the wildfire season in Canada, which occurs from late April to September-October. More than half of the fires in the country are caused by lightning.

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