The province of Alberta has declared a state of emergency in response to multiple wildfires burning throughout the province.
Premier Danielle Smith says the provincial state of emergency will ensure the safety, health and welfare of Albertans. She explains under the Emergency Management Act, “a state of emergency is a legal mechanism that provides the provincial government with a higher level of intergovernmental coordination.”
“For example, the province can access emergency funds, mobilize additional supports and continue to work with municipalities, organizations, and businesses to support affected residents,” Smith says. “This is not a step that we took lightly but is one that will allow the quickest and most effective response.”
As of 5:00 p.m. Saturday, 110 wildfires were burning in the forest protection area across the province with 34 deemed as out of control. Over 350,000 hectares are burning and more than 24,000 have been evacuated.
Alberta Wildfire Information Unit Manager Christie Tucker says Saturday was an extremely challenging day for firefighters across the province.
“We were battling very strong winds, hot weather and those winds produces extreme wildfire activity, which saw many of the wildfires on the landscape grow or move quite quickly,” Tucker says.
Tucker notes fire fighters from Ontario and Quebec arrived in Alberta Saturday to support emergency responders, and requests for more support will be made in the next few days. With
Meanwhile, Smith adds she will be speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the upcoming days regarding the current wildfire situation in the province.
Minister of Emergency Services Mike Ellis says as the situation continues to evolve he has confidence the province can manage what ever comes with the situation he describes as a rapidly changing situation. He says anyone who has been displaced due to a wildfire evacuation is asked to register at local reception centres or online.
With files from Kassandra Patterson – Vista Radio