Crews toiling in the smoky heat contained some of the wildfires burning in northern Alberta on Wednesday but were bracing for the possibility of new forest fires that could flare up.
The problem is lightning strikes — more than 100,000 have been recorded in Alberta’s tinder-dry forests since the weekend.
Rob Harris of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development said lightning can spark fires that smoulder underground for days and then ignite.
“That is our primary concern right now — not only containing the fires that are currently burning but also being prepared to fight these new wildfires that we are anticipating will start in the coming days,” Harris said.
The province had an army of more than 650 firefighters working on 12 out-of-control fires Wednesday. The crews were backed up by 22 water bombers and 70 helicopters.
That force was being bolstered by up to 200 more firefighters from Ontario, the Northwest Territories, New Brunswick and Mexico.