Hundreds of wildfires continue to rage in Canada as storms forecast across the country could bring much-needed rain but also the risk of powerful winds and lightning. Here’s a look at developments Tuesday:
Rain could bolster Quebec firefighting efforts
Quebec’s public security minister says a rainy forecast is raising hopes that the province’s more than 7,200 fire evacuees will be able to return home in the coming days.
Francois Bonnardel says rain showers and cooler temperatures should be moving into northwestern Quebec.
Powerful forest fires in that region have threatened the towns of Lebel-sur-Quevillon and Normetal.
Bonnardel says the fire effort is being bolstered by the arrival this week of two contingents of American firefighters, with more reinforcements from Spain and Portugal expected to arrive Wednesday.
Colder weather could help fire battle near Alberta town
An out-of-control fire continues to pose a danger to the community of Edson, west of Edmonton, but officials are hopeful changing temperatures will help firefighters battling the blaze.
The town’s chief administrative officer, Christine Beveridge, says cooler temperatures and some precipitation are in the forecast for the area in the coming days.
A low is to develop over central Alberta this afternoon, bringing winds up to 30 kilometres per hour and the potential for up to 30 millimetres of rain.
Beveridge says, however, the 2,042-square-kilometre fire remains 1.5 km from the community, and its 8,400 residents remain under an evacuation order.
Beveridge says the area also remains extremely smoky and fire crews are working around the clock to stop the fire from spreading closer to the community.
Storm expected in northeast B.C.
Another storm is forecast to move into northeastern British Columbia where officials describe a “volatile and rapidly evolving” wildfire situation.
Environment Canada says the system could dump up to 25 mm of rain over the parched Peace River region, but thunderstorms are forecast later in the day, followed by winds gusting to 60 km/h.
Hundreds of people were forced from their homes or are under an evacuation alert as the 4,660-square-kilometre blaze continues to burn.
The same weather system also spawned severe thunderstorm watches for a large part of southeastern B.C., a wind warning for the west side of Vancouver Island and special weather statements for most other central and southern regions.
That includes the eastern Vancouver Island area, where a small but aggressive fire is burning out of control on steep hills above Highway 4, closing the only paved link to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.
Nova Scotia firefighters looking for hot spots
Nova Scotia firefighters are stalking the glowing embers of potential hot spots that could reignite a wildfire in Shelburne County.
The massive fire in southwest Nova Scotia is no longer growing but is still classified as out of control.
Two helicopters are expected to fly the area in coming days, sending back records of high heat areas from their sensors.
The province’s Department of Natural Resources says firefighting teams are also on the ground walking through the area, kicking over rocks and examining stumps.
Spokesman Dave Steeves says it’s monotonous work but key to avoiding having the fire carry on threatening the southern part of the province.
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