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Wildfire roundup: What you need to know about blazes burning across Canada

Air quality warnings persist in Quebec, Ontario and much of western Canada as wildfires continue to burn out of control in several jurisdictions across the country.

Air quality warnings persist in Quebec, Ontario and much of western Canada as wildfires continue to burn out of control in several jurisdictions across the country. Here's a look at developments Saturday:

Australian firefighters battling flames approaching Alberta community

Officials say a fire that prompted the evacuation of Edson, Alta., on Friday is now just 1.5 kilometres south of the town, and local leaders are urging anyone who stayed behind to get out immediately.

The Alberta government says sustained winds, high temperatures and dry conditions are making firefighting "extremely dangerous" in the area.

An Australian contingent of firefighters worked with Yellowhead County to patrol and set up structure protection throughout the community of Ansell, which is about nine kilometres west of Edson.

A cold front is forecast to move into the area this evening, but the province says it could bring gusty, sustained winds from the west which could pose challenges on the fire's eastern flank.


Rain brings relief as fire threatens northeastern British Columbia town

Shifting winds and cooling temperatures today are helping firefighters battling the out-of-control wildfire threatening the northeastern British Columbia community of Tumbler Ridge.

Wildfire B.C. information officer Forrest Tower says the winds that were blowing the intense blaze westward towards the community have shifted and are now moving the fire east and south from town.

The community's roughly 2,400 residents were ordered to evacuate earlier this week as the fire approached to about five kilometres from Tumbler Ridge.

Tower says despite the improving conditions, it is still too early to lift the evacuation order.


Rain coming for Ontario and Quebec

Environment and Climate Change Canada says there is rain in the forecast this weekend for Ontario and parts of western Quebec.

Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Gerald Cheng says rain is expected in Ontario beginning late Sunday, and in western Quebec on Sunday night.

Cheng says Rain will hit northern Quebec, where much of the fire is raging, on Tuesday.

He says it remains to be seen whether the rain will help firefighters douse the flames in those provinces.


Smoke still a concern

Cheng says the fires in Ontario and Quebec have been significant contributors to the smoke that turned skies varying shades of smoggy oranges and yellows in Ontario and parts of the eastern U.S.

Cheng says while smoke concentrations in the U.S. have let up somewhat, there are still concerns for Canada, particularly for parts of Quebec.

He says smoke is also due to return to parts of Northeastern Ontario on Monday, and smoky skies could reach into Lake Superior.

Fire smoke will still choke the skies over Quebec on Monday, particularly around the Chibougamau and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean regions.


Next 48 hours are crucial for Quebec fires

Warm, humid temperatures are expected in Quebec until the rain arrives in western parts of the province later this weekend, and in northern regions on Tuesday.

Officials say there are more than 130 fires burning in the province and teams have prioritized 37 of them, with 861 firefighters on the ground and 20 water bombers joining in the fight.

Public Security Minister François Bonnardel says authorities are concerned for Normétal, located 720 kilometres northwest of Montreal in the Abitibi region, where fires are burning nearby. 

Another major fight is taking place in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, a northern municipality where the province's largest fire is about five kilometres southeast of the community but also within a few kilometres of the Nordic Kraft pulp mill.

The situation remains stable in Chibougamau,  Mistissini, Chapais and Oujé-Bougoumou, where numerous teams are deployed.

Provincial authorities say 13,810 Quebecers have been evacuated due to the wildfire situation.


Nova Scotia still ablaze

The largest forest fire in Nova Scotia's history continues to burn out of control in Shelburne County, though officials say the flames are no longer spreading.

The fire broke out May 27 near Barrington Lake and it has since devoured more than 234 square kilometres of land.

About 130 firefighters are continuing their battle today to knock it down.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2023. 

The Canadian Press