“Broadcast heavy rain will persist through the middle of the week,” according to Environment Canada forecasts; which should help bring down the number of active fires in the province even further.
The number of active blazes in Alberta has fallen from nearly 100, before the showers, to 71 early Tuesday afternoon, including 20 uncontrolled fires. A total of 520 fires have burned an area of more than 1 million hectares, or 12 times Calgary and its suburbs, since the fires started this year.
This wildfire season in Alberta could turn out to be the worst in the province's history. While summer hasn't officially started yet, it's already the most devastating 2nd season. The worst season dates back to 1981 when the province recorded 1.3 million hectares burned in the year as a whole, said Christie Tucker, the head of the public information unit. x27;Alberta Wildfire, Tuesday at a press conference.
The drop in the number of active fires is due in particular to the action of the rains which are currently watering certain regions of the province, allowing forest firefighters to have some respite. “Most large wildfires have received rain,” Christie Tucker said.
A rain warning issued by Environment Canada is also in effect on Tuesday for the central west and part of the north-west of the province, particularly in the Grande Prairie region, but also those of Fox Creek and Drayton Valley. , heavily affected by forest fires.
Widespread heavy rain will persist through the middle of the week. A total of 50-75mm is expected by Wednesday, but it could drop to 85mm in a few places, the warning says.
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Environment Canada has also renewed its special bulletin on air quality for the center and north of the province. In some counties and municipalities, the air quality health index was 10 (high risk) on Tuesday morning, but this risk should drop to low in the evening, according to data updated at 5 p.m. This is the case for Parkland and Sturgeon counties, as well as the city of Edmonton.
Smoke from wildfires can be harmful to everyone's health , even if the concentrations are low, recalls the federal agency. The smoke, however, brought relief to fire-fighting crews. By covering the sky, it had a cooling effect similar to that of clouds.
The smoke, however, is limiting the ability of firefighting aircraft to move and has farmers across the province fearing the worst.
Christie Tucker said furthermore that 10,655 Albertans were still being evacuated and that 15 evacuation orders were still in effect.
“We will continue to prioritize fires that threaten communities and focus our resources on areas that are still awaiting rain.
— Christie Tucker, Information Officer, Alberta Wildfire
Christie Tucker announced the arrival on Tuesday of a team from Parks Canada, along with 96 firefighters more Americans who will arrive on Wednesday.
She also announced that the province expects to welcome new reinforcements from New Zealand and Australia, without however, specify the number of people expected.
While Alberta hopes that weather conditions will continue to help fight these fires, the state of emergency provincial government remains in effect, said Bre Hutchinson, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.
Currently, 1123 firefighters and military from Canada and the United States lend a hand to the 1700 Alberta firefighters in the fight against the fires.