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Thousands told to evacuate due to British Columbia, Canada wildfire

Reuters Smoke rises from mutual aid wildfire GCU007 in the Grande Prairie Forest Area near TeePee Creek, AlbertaReuters
Smoke rises from Alberta wildfire near TeePee Creek

Thousands of Canadians have been ordered to leave their homes in Fort Nelson, British Columbia due to the threat of a wildfire.

The blaze began on Friday night and was described by officials as “exhibiting extreme fire behaviour”.

Wildfires have also led to evacuation alerts and orders in the neighbouring province of Alberta.

The Canadian government has warned this year’s weather conditions would mean a greater wildfire risk in the country.

The Parker Lake fire, as it’s been called by the British Columbia Wildfire Service (BCWS), was 8sq km (3 sq miles) in size as of Saturday morning after growing rapidly overnight.

Some 3,000 people in Fort Nelson – located in northeast BC about 1,600km (1,000 miles) from Vancouver – were ordered to evacuate.

Rob Fraser, mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, told CBC News the fire began after high winds knocked a tree over and it crashed onto a power line and caught fire.

“And then by the time our firefighters were able to get down there, the wind had whipped this up into a fire that they weren’t able to handle with the apparatus that we had,” Mr Fraser said.

Strong winds and dry conditions are making the fire more difficult to fight, according to the BCWS.

As of Saturday, the fire was being fought by nine helicopters, as well as ground crews and a structure protection specialist, whose job it is to protect structures affected by wildfires.

In Alberta, people in the Grande Prairie region are under evacuation alerts and some have been asked to leave due to a blaze burning 4km east of the hamlet of TeePee Creek in the province’s northwest.

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