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The province of Alberta declared a state of emergency this weekend with tens of thousands forced to evacuate amid raging wildfires in Canada’s oil country.
According to Reuters, on Saturday there were 110 active wildfires in the province, of which 36 were out of control. Some 24,000 people were forced to evacuate because of the fires. By Monday, the number of people affected by evacuation orders had risen to nearly 30,000, according to the Edmonton Journal.
Since then another 16 wildfires have been detected, according to Global News. At the same time, the number of those among them classified as out of control has been reduced to 28. In southern Alberta, it has rained which has helped contain the fires in that part of the province.
The situation in northern Alberta remains dangerous because of continued high temperatures, media note in their reports of the wildfires.
"Much of Alberta has been experiencing a hot, dry spring and with so much kindling, all it takes is a few sparks to ignite some truly frightening wildfires," Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said on Saturday. "These conditions have resulted in the unprecedented situation our province is facing today."
According to Alberta Wildfire investigations, some 15 of the fires may have been caused by humans.
“We’ll spend whatever it takes. We should be aware that in our budget process we put aside $1.5 billion as a contingency because we know that any given year you can end up with a significant amount of resources that need to spend on emergency management … so I don’t think anyone needs to worry that there will not be sufficient resources,” Smith added.
Meanwhile, the oil industry is preparing for emergencies, too. Reuters reported that pipeline operator Pembina had activated emergency response and incident management procedures, and Whitecap Resources was monitoring the evacuation of its personnel and the state of its assets.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com