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Thousands of residents fled the flames in western Canada on Wednesday, while authorities will deploy hundreds of military personnel to fight the intense fires that also ravage areas in the western United States.
“I have a vacation trailer, this is my new home,” said Margot Wagner, a district administrator in this western county, after she too had to leave her home.
This marks the second time in four years that her home in rural central British Columbia has been threatened by fire.
The province declared a state of emergency on Tuesday over the spread of the fires and more than 5,700 people have been instructed to evacuate their homes.
“We did it in 2017 and we will do it again,” Wagner said. “Is it stressful and scary? It sure is.”
Neighboring regions are preparing for the worst as fires are expected to spread in the coming days due to heat factors and high winds, putting pressure on 3,180 firefighters on the ground.
“I have lived in Ashcroft for almost 25 years and have never seen anything like it,” said Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Rudin. Since July 14, her municipality has declared a state of alert.
“It’s a clear reminder that climate change is hitting us indefinitely, whether it be a difficult season of wildfires, flooding or even our own thermal dome,” said County Premier John Horgan.
Canadian Forces are preparing to send an additional 350 soldiers to British Columbia and another 120 to Manitoba, a central province fighting fires, said Department of National Defense spokesman John Nethercote. About 75 members of Ontario’s security forces support firefighters on their missions.
These fires have been raging for several weeks in western Canada, which experts say witnessed a severe heat wave at the end of June due to global warming.
Across the border in the United States, firefighters are fighting massive fires that experts say are creating their own “climate.”
About eighty wildfires ravage hundreds of thousands of acres in several western states, the largest of which is the “Bottlege” fire that broke out in Oregon and broke out in an area of forests and vegetation equivalent to the city of Los Angeles within two weeks.
“The fire is so big, it generates so much energy that it creates its own climate,” Marcus Kaufmann of Staatsbosbeheer told AFP. “It generates lightning and feeds on itself.”
In neighboring California, several villages were evacuated as the Dixie Fire progressed, likely caused by a tree that fell on the power lines of a major supply company, which had previously admitted to causing the deadliest fire in California’s modern history.
The company announced on Wednesday that it plans to bury thousands of miles of power lines, starting with those in the areas that led to the fires, over fears of other disasters.
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