Alberta, Canada, officials declare emergency, order evacuations amid wildfires

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Christie Tucker, information unit manager, Alberta Wildfire, and Stephen Lacroix, managing director, Alberta Emergency Management Agency provide an update Friday on wildfires from Edmonton. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

May 7 (UPI) — Dozens of wildfires in the western Canadian province of Albert have prompted the evacuation of more than 24,000 residents, according to government officials.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith declared a provincial state of emergency Saturday as more than 100 wildfires burned through about 300,000 acres. That’s up from the 92 blazes reported Friday, the Alberta Emergency Management Agency reported.

Fourteen counties and communities also have declared states of emergency, including the Beaver Lake Cree Nation.

Smith called the fire outbreak “unprecedented.”

“Our top priority is and always will be public safety and we’re being briefed regularly by the experts who are handling the response,” she added.

The AEMA said 20 homes were destroyed in a wildfire dubbed EWF-030 in the town of Fox Lake. The largest fire, EWF-031, has burned more than 59,000 near the town of Edson, according to NBC News.

Hot, dry weather conditions have fueled the fast-moving blazes, the CBC reported, adding that 36 of the fires were considered out of control.

Wildfire information officer Christie Tucker said the province typical see about 2,000 acres burned each year due to wildfire.

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