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HomeInvestmentCanada's Alberta braces for more wildfires amid hot, dry weather By Reuters

Canada’s Alberta braces for more wildfires amid hot, dry weather By Reuters

© Reuters. Smoke rises from a wildfire in Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada May 5, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Twitter @hellohildy/via REUTERS

By Ismail Shakil and Anna Mehler Paperny

OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canada’s main oil-producing province of Alberta faces another hot and dry weekend, with warnings of more intense wildfires after blazes forced thousands to evacuate homes and temporarily shuttered energy production.

Authorities in at least one fire-ravaged area said Saturday they had already seen an increase in fire activity and were expecting more.

Special alerts have been declared across western Canada, and officials urged vigilance with temperatures in some areas forecast to hit 30° Celsius (86°F), 10 to 15 degrees above normal.

“We are expecting hot and dry conditions in most of the province, which will make the wildfire danger climb,” Alberta Wildfire official Josee St-Onge told a briefing on Friday.

“We’re likely to see more intense wildfire activity this weekend and into early next week.”

More than 100 wildfires over the past 1-1/2 weeks forced about 30,000 people to leave home at one point, and oil and gas producers had to shut in at least 319,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or 3.7% of national production.

Recent cooling and rain helped firefighters tackle some blazes and restored most of the energy production, but expectations of rising weekend temperatures have fanned concerns of more production cuts and evacuations.

By Friday afternoon, 74 fires were burning across Alberta, 20 considered to be out of control, with about 16,500 evacuees.

“We remain in an extremely volatile situation and the risk of new wildfires remains significant in much of the province,” said Colin Blair, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

“It will take much more than a few scattered showers to change the wildfire situation,” Blair said at the briefing.

The town of Drayton Valley told residents in a Facebook (NASDAQ:) post Friday they should expect to be out of their homes “at least another week.”

Authorities in Brazeau County, which is southwest of the provincial capital Edmonton and includes Drayton Valley, said on Facebook on Saturday morning it had seen an increase in fire activity and was expecting a further increase.

The Canadian army is helping with firefighting and recovery efforts in the province, where a state of emergency has been in place since May 6.

More than 200 soldiers were deployed after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved a request for federal assistance on Thursday, with about 100 more expected to join them over the weekend.

In the west coast province of British Columbia residents were warned to be alert for fires and floods with temperatures set to soar over the weekend. The province’s energy agency predicted record-breaking power use.

Transport Canada asked in a tweet Saturday for people to keep their drones out of the sky near wildfires. “Unauthorized drone use is impeding firefighting operations.”

This story originally appeared on Investing

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