Thousands evacuated due to threat of spreading Canada wildfires

Around 3,500 people have been evacuated from their homes due to the threat of spreading wildfires in Canada.

Rob Fraser, mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, said in a television interview most of the residents in and around Fort Nelson, British Columbia, had been evacuated - and police had been going door-to-door to ensure everyone gets out.

Authorities warned those wishing to remain that "emergency medical services are not available, nor are groceries or other amenities".

Mr Fraser said the Parker Lake fire was one of three major wildfires near Fort Nelson, located in the far north-eastern corner of British Columbia.

He said the blaze began after strong winds knocked a tree down on to a power line and it caught fire.

The blaze, which began on Friday, has nearly doubled in size to 4,136 hectares (10,220 acres).

Health officials said Fort Nelson General Hospital had been safely evacuated and closed until further notice.

An evacuation order for Fontas, an indigenous community, was also issued.

Across the border in Alberta, authorities issued an alert about a wildfire near Fort McMurray - an oil hub which suffered extensive damage from wildfires in 2016.

However, improving weather conditions on Sunday helped by a shower forecast tamed the spread of the wildfire.

Though residents had been asked to prepare to leave, no evacuation order has yet been given, with more showers expected on Monday.

Evacuation alerts are also in place for Saprae Creek Estates and expanded to Gregoire Lake Estates and Rickards Landing Industrial Park should conditions change.

The season's first major wildfires have spread to roughly 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) across Western Canada, with authorities warning of poor air quality across provinces.

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In 2023, Canada witnessed a record number of wildfires that led to a veil of smoke blanketing the US east coast, turning the skies orange.

The federal government has warned Canada faces another "catastrophic" wildfire season with higher-than-normal spring and summer temperatures forecast, boosted by El Nino weather conditions.

The country has experienced one of its warmest winters with low to non-existent snow in many areas. This has raised fears of a hot summer triggering fires in forests and wildlands.