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Rapidly spreading Alberta wildfires cause panic, evacuations
Rapidly spreading Alberta wildfires cause panic, evacuations
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Rapidly spreading Alberta wildfires cause panic, evacuations 

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Another wildfire has come to Alberta, this time striking in the Notikewin area, a three-hour drive north from Grande Prairie.

Alberta Wildfire believes the flames will continue to accelerate due to extremely dry conditions and strong winds.

The fire is estimated to be over 23,000 hectares in size (230 km²) with experts stating that  wildfire danger in the Peace River Forest Area has been labelled “extreme.”

Nearby campsites and local facilities have been evacuated, with some roads now being closed off.

According to Global News, over 200 firefighters, five air tankers and 18 helicopters are helping in the firefight.

“Crews, air tankers and helicopters with buckets worked all day to minimize the spread of this wildfire,” officials with Alberta Wildfire said. “Tankers worked to help steer the wildfire into pockets of aspen and keep the west flank from blowing out. Crews and heavy equipment worked on the east side of the fire, which was very active as well.”

This year’s wildfires mark the third time in three years that such a major natural disaster take place in the province, with the 2016 Fort Mcmurray fire being the worst of the three.

A portion of Highway 35 between Manning and High Level was closed Saturday because of another wildfire burning in the area.

According to the RCMP, homes on the north and south side of the nearby Highway 16 were at high risk, and thus evacuated.

“The wildfire has jumped Highway 16 and is presently burning on both sides of the highway,” RCMP said in a release. “Traffic is being stopped on Highway 16, as it is impassable due to the smoke and zero visibility. Please avoid travel in this area.”​

There have been 60 wildfires in the Peace River Forest Area this fire season.

The extreme wildfire danger has prompted a fire ban in the area. All open fires including campfires and open fire pits are prohibited.

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