A Wildfire in Western Canada Is Growing. More People Nearby Are Told to Leave

    This photo provided by the BC Wildfire Service shows a view of the Parker Lake wildfire near Fort Nelson, B.C. on Monday, May 13, 2024. (BC Wildfire Service/The Canadian Press via AP)

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — More people are being told to leave an area of western Canada at threat from a nearby wildfire that has grown significantly in the past day.

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    As forecasts on Tuesday called for wind that could blow the fire closer to Fort Nelson, emergency workers have been calling as many of the estimated 50 residents still in town and urging them to go.

    The British Columbia Wildfire Service said the blaze spans 84 square kilometers (32 miles). On Monday, it was about 53 square kilometers (21 miles) in size. A photo by the service shows the billowing blaze spreading in a vast wooded area.

    The community of about 4,700 and the neighboring Fort Nelson First Nation have been under an evacuation order since Friday.

    Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Rob Fraser said one drawback of the evacuation is the challenge for essential staff, including firefighters, to find food.

    “This is really going to be weather dependent, and so far the weather has been holding with us,” Fraser said of the wildfire in a video posted to Facebook.

    In 2023, Canada experienced a record number of wildfires that caused choking smoke in parts of the U.S. and forced more than 235,000 Canadians to evacuate their communities. At least four firefighters died.

    Several wildfires are burning across Western Canada.

    Areas subject to mandatory evacuation in British Columbia’s northeast have increased, with the latest order Monday for Doig River First Nation and the Peace River Regional District as a fire threatens nearby.

    A fire close to Cranberry Portage in northwest Manitoba forced about 550 residents from their homes. A fire that prompted an evacuation alert in Fort McMurray, Alberta, appeared to be holding about 16 kilometers (9 miles) to the southeast.

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