Published: 15:53, May 15, 2024
6,600 evacuated in wildfire-hit western Canada
By Xinhua

This aerial handout picture courtesy of the Alberta Wildfire Service, taken May 10, 2024, shows smoke from wildfires burning in the Grande prairie forest area, 4 kilometers east of the town of Teepee Creek, in Alberta, Canada. (HANDOUT / ALBERTA WILDFIRE SERVICE VIA AFP)

OTTAWA - Up to 6,600 residents have been evacuated in Canada's western province of Alberta due to a raging wildfire, local media reported on Tuesday.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo issued the evacuation order Tuesday afternoon after declaring a state of local emergency, CBC News reported.

A total of 134 fires were actively burning nationwide on Tuesday with 43 fires categorized as out of control, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center

The evacuation order is in effect for the neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Abasand, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace. Several neighborhoods in Fort McMurray are being evacuated to make way for firefighters, the report said.

ALSO READ: Western Canada blazes cause evacuations, air quality concerns

All residents in the evacuation zone were ordered to leave by 4 pm Mountain Time (2200 GMT), the municipality said.

According to CBC News, Jody Butz, the regional fire chief, said that the order would affect up to 6,600 people in the evacuation zone.

Local roads and highways were choked with vehicles Tuesday afternoon as residents fled south, the report said.

A total of 134 fires were actively burning nationwide on Tuesday with 43 fires categorized as out of control, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.

READ MORE: Government: Canada risks another 'catastrophic' wildfire season

The Canadian government warned that above-normal temperatures nationwide could lead to greater wildfire risks.

Canada's wildfire season in 2023 is the most destructive on record. According to the Canadian National Fire Database, there were 7,131 fires recorded nationwide in 2023, burning a record 17,203,625 hectares of land.