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

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.

François 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-Quévillon and Normétal.

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.

Storm expected in northeast B.C., amid volatile wildfire situation

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 millimetres of rain over the parched Peace River region, but thunderstorms are forecast later in the day, followed by winds gusting to 60 kilometres per hour.

Hundreds of people were forced from their homes or are under an evacuation alert as the 4,660-square-kilometre Donnie Creek blaze continues to rage.

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, indefinitely closing the only paved link to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.

Nova Scotia firefighters on the ground 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 Barrington Lake 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 it’s key to avoiding having the fire carry on threatening the southern part of the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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