Firefighters make progress in B.C. wildfires

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Active wildfires burning in BC, 13 July 2017 (BC Wildfire Service/Google)

More than 300 firefighters from across Canada including New Brunswick are now in British Columbia to relieve those already on the ground battling over 180 wildfires.

Some progress has been made thanks to recent cooler weather but 14,000 residents have been evacuated and thousands more are on alert to leave their homes at short notice.

Forecasters say gusty winds expected this weekend could fan the flames even further and the heat is also expected to return.

The economy of the B.C. Interior is taking a hit this summer with many campgrounds and provincial parks forced to close due to the wildfires and related road closures.

Forest fire tragedy in Portugal

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Burnt cars block a road in the Pedrogao Grande area, Portugal, 18 June 2017 (AP/Armando Franca)

A massive forest fire in central Portugal has claimed more than 60 lives and injured dozens of others with hot, windy conditions fanning the flames.

Many died in their vehicles trying to flee the blaze while others died from smoke inhalation.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning in what has been called the worst human tragedy in recent times.

More than 2,000 firefighters are on the scene with help coming from Spain and across Europe.

Officials believe lightning started the fire on Saturday in the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, northeast of Lisbon.

Welcome to the 30s Club

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Shepody Bay from Dorchester Beach, NB, 26 June 2016 (Dearing)


Greater Moncton reached a daytime high of 29.8 C today which is the warmest temperature so far in 2016.

Environment Canada reports at least nine other communities in New Brunswick reached 30 C or higher.

The hotspot was Bathurst at a sizzling 33.3 C.

The warm, windy conditions were not helpful for firefighters near Bouctouche battling a forest fire which was eventually brought under control.

PM Trudeau in Fort McMurray

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tours burnt-out areas of Fort McMurray, AB with Fire Chief Darby Allen, 13 May 2016 (Reuters)


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Fort McMurray on Friday for the first time since wildfires destroyed more than 10 percent of the city or about 2,400 buildings.

Trudeau praised the work of emergency responders including firefighters for helping to save most of the city including the downtown core.

More than 90,000 people remain displaced and are staying with family or friends or remain in evacuation centres waiting for word on when they can return home.

Trudeau announced an extension of jobless benefits for those in the region which follows emergency financial aid announced for fire victims by the Red Cross and the Alberta government.

Although the wildfires have moved away from Fort McMurray, officials say the blazes could burn for weeks to come in forested areas.

Wildfire engulfs Fort McMurray

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RCMP among few left in Fort McMurray enforcing evacuation, 04 May 2016 (RCMP/Twitter)

About 1,600 buildings have burned to the ground in Fort McMurray as a wildfire engulfed the southwest portion of the city late yesterday.

Alberta has declared a state of emergency as the government confirms many homes in the Beacon Hill and Waterways neighbourhoods have been destroyed.

The wildfire cut the city in two forcing 10,000 people to evacuate north to oil sands camps and at least 80,000 had to head south.

Traffic became gridlocked on Highway 63 as dozens of drivers abandoned their vehicles after breaking down or running out of gas.

Heading further south to Edmonton, drivers faced a slow, tense trip with bumper-to-bumper traffic and long lineups at the few gas stations available.

The military has been called in to help firefighters and hundreds of additional RCMP officers are being deployed to the region.

Wildfire forces evacuation of Fort McMurray

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Wildfire closes in on Fort McMurray, AB neighbourhood, 03 May 2016 (Facebook)

The largest mandatory evacuation in the history of Alberta is underway as more than 80,000 people flee Fort McMurray due to a raging wildfire.

The forest has been tinder-dry and weather has not been cooperating for firefighters either with strong winds, soaring temperatures and low humidity.

The fire had entered the city limits by mid-afternoon and social media reports say homes, a trailer park and a hotel were engulfed in flames.

The airport remains open and officials say the city’s only hospital has been successfully evacuated.

Residents are being told to head north to the oil sands camps or Highway 63 south with evacuation centres on the way to Edmonton.

N.B. firefighters head to hot, dry Western Canada

Smoke from forest fires in Western Canada drifts south deep into the USA, 29 June 2015 (NASA)

Smoke from forest fires in Western Canada drifts south deep into the USA, 29 June 2015 (NASA)


Hundreds of forest fires are burning in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories thanks to recent warm, dry weather and smoke is being carried south well into the United States this week thanks to a big dip in the jet stream.

New Brunswick has sent at least 34 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources to help out in Western Canada since the season to date here has been very quiet.

At least 5,000 people from several northern Saskatchewan communities have been evacuated due to the fires and the Red Cross says they are being housed at several shelters across the province.

California declares a drought

Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)

Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)

The state of California formally declared drought conditions this week in an effort to receive federal aid.

Hundreds of wildfires have been reported this winter – normally the wettest time of year – as bone-dry conditions persist.

Thousands of residents were allowed to return home this weekend after firefighters contained a wildfire in the suburbs northeast of Los Angeles which destroyed at least five homes.

Bushfire emergency declared in NSW, Australia

Charred countryside near Sydney, NSW, 21 Oct 2013 (Twitter)

Charred countryside near Sydney, NSW, 21 Oct 2013 (Twitter)

More than 60 bushfires burning in Australia’s most populous state have prompted officials to declare a state of emergency.

At least 3,000 firefighters and nearly 100 aircraft are battling the blazes in New South Wales under catastrophic conditions including high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h.

Many communities have been evacuated in the Blue Mountains region, west of Sydney, where over 200 homes have been destroyed by the bushfires.

Heavy smoke has been drifting into Sydney and its suburbs since last week.

In an effort to contain the blazes and prevent them from spreading, firefighters have been lighting controlled fires.

May 2013 – Topsy turvy

Magnolia trees in bloom at Moncton's Riverfront Park, 09 May 2013 (Dearing)

Magnolia trees in bloom at Moncton’s Riverfront Park, 09 May 2013 (Dearing)

Early May was warm and dry in Greater Moncton which was a continuation from April and led to an increased number of forest fires throughout New Brunswick.

Mid-May was much cooler and wetter which was good news for firefighters.

Late May continued to be cool and wet except for the last three days which proved to be warm and humid.

MAY 2013 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH  17.0°C

Average LOW  5.1°C

AVERAGE  11.1°C (1.2 degrees ABOVE the 30-year-average 1971-2000)

Extreme HIGH  30.8°C (new record for 31 May)

Extreme LOW  -1.6°C (3 and 4 May)

Rainfall  86 mm (near normal)

Snowfall  0 cm

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)