Crews working to put out wildfires

Provincial firefighting crews are working to put out 11 out of control fires in northern Alberta after already putting out 127 wildfires that were sparked by lightening over the last two days. The largest wildfire is located about 45 kilometres north of Calling Lake and has already claimed about 25 square kilometres. The remaining 10 fires are located north of Edmonton in the Slave Lake, Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray areas. The Provincial Forest Fire Centre recorded more than 50,000 lightening strikes which sparked 138 wildfires since Friday afternoon. Officials say the last 48 hours account for the most extensive lightening systems in 2009. Officials say the hot temperatures coupled with more lightening activity could contribute to additional wildfires. There are currently about 300 firefighters,22 air tankers, 45 helicopters and a number of other pieces of heavy equipment being used to put out the fires. The province says since April 1, the beginning of wildfire season, they’ve responded to 800 wildfires which have burned about 70 square kilometres of land. That’s a 15 per cent increase compared to the past five years. Fires in various parts of British Columbia have forced or threatened evacuations from the Interior to near the Yukon boundary.

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