Rain, even smoke, helps fight wildfires in Alberta; new blazes prompt evacuations in British Columbia

Canadian officials say scattered rain and even a layer of smoke have cooled air temperatures and helped contain wildfires in Alberta over the weekend.

EDMONTON, Alberta — Scattered rain and even smoke cooled air temperatures and helped contain weekend wildfires in Alberta, officials said Sunday, while another fire in neighboring British Columbia prompted the evacuation of a rural area.

As the heavy smoke made temperatures cooler, it also limited firefighting aircraft and could harm the health of people who must breathe it in, officials added.

“I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. We’re taking advantage of every opportunity we have, and if it gives us more firefighting opportunities on the scene, we can do that,” Alberta Fire Chief Christie Tucker said at a news conference.

Tucker said there were only five new wildfires between Friday morning and Sunday morning, some of which he attributed to Albertans respecting restrictions on fires and ATV use. A total of 84 fires were burning in the province on Sunday, 23 of which could not be controlled. More than 10,000 people sought refuge from their homes.

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“While we’re optimistic that the forecasted rain will be enough to make a difference to some of the wildfires in the province, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Tucker said.

In British Columbia, also ravaged by wildfires, officials ordered the evacuation of an area near Tzenzaicut Lake, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) north of Vancouver, due to out-of-control flames. Firefighters had to evacuate a property.

Jessica Mack, spokeswoman for the Cariboo Fire Center, said crews were using heavy equipment and a firefighting aircraft to battle the growing fire.

Several major wildfires remain in the Cariboo and Peace River regions, officials said, but changing wind direction and cooler weather have helped fighters contain the fires.

In the Cariboo region, evacuation alerts have been lifted for the Anahim Lake and Ulkatcho First Nation communities.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/rain-smoke-fight-wildfires-alberta-new-blaze-brings-99497900