Forest Fires Rage in Canada
May. 05, 1998
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ Forest fires raged out of control Tuesday in parched woodlands of three Canadian provinces, forcing 2,500 people to evacuate one town and halting some oilfield activity in Alberta.
A mild, dry winter and unseasonably warm spring temperatures have turned much of the Canadian prairies into a tinderbox. More than 30 wildfires have broken out in Alberta, two-dozen in Manitoba and a major one in western Ontario.
In northern Alberta, authorities ordered the evacuation of 2,500 residents from Swan Hills, 110 miles north of Edmonton. About 100 maintenance and security people stayed behind while a fire burned about six miles away.
Another fire in the region, near Slave Lake, prompted Nova Gas Transmission to shut off a gas pipeline, while Chevron Resources shut down about 150 oil wells as a precaution.
Strong northerly winds blew smoke over much of Alberta. In Calgary, far to the south of the fires, the skyline was barely visible.
In western Ontario, several dozen senior citizens and people with breathing problems were evacuated by bus from the remote village of Gull Bay, north of Thunder Bay, because of smoke from a fire 18 miles away.