Thousands displaced in the Prairies, B.C., as wildfires roar
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 2:27 PM - As wildfires continue to rage across the Prairies, thousands more were displaced from their homes over the weekend as new evacuation orders were issued.
In Saskatchewan alone, 7,900 people have been ordered out of their homes, with up to 5,000 seeking refuge in Cold Lake, Alta., the CBC reports. The Canadian Forces and the Red Cross will carry out the relocation efforts in Alberta.
The most recent evacuation order affects the area around La Ronge, Sask., including the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, the largest First Nation in Saskatchewan, with almost 10,000 registered members.
According to the CBC, government officials say most evacuees will drive to Alberta, and others will be bused there, residing with family and friends.
As of July 4, prior to the La Ronge-area evacuation order, almost 6,000 displaced residents were receiving provincial support, the Social Services Ministry tells the CBC.
Farther west, evacuation orders are in place for several communities in B.C. after new and old wildfires created a localized state of emergency in the small town of Port Hardy, the CBC reports.
A wildfire burning just 1.5 km away from Port Hardy, B.C. doubled in size since Friday, growing from six hectares to 16 hectares.
An evacuation order issued Friday has since expanded, affecting approximately 100 homes along Mayors Way and Upper Carnarvon down to Park Drive, the CBC notes.
140 homes near Kelowna were evacuated Friday after the 80-hectare Huckleberry fire began, and another 158 homes are on evacuation alert.A Look Ahead
The week ahead will bring showers to parts of the Prairies and B.C., but according to Weather Network meteorologist Matt Grinter, it'll mostly be a dry week ahead.
B.C. can expect spotted showers Monday, but not for the remainder of the week. Northern Saskatchewan and northern Alberta will see rain and possible thunderstorms Monday, with these weather conditions moving into the Foothills Tuesday, Grinter notes.
The dry weather has pros and cons for forest fires, Grinter says, referencing that there are two primary causes for forest fires: humans and lightning.
"Drier conditions in B.C. mean a reduced chance for lightning-induced wildfires, but this only means there's an increased risk for human-induced fires to spread.