Sudbury

Ontario firefighters battle wildfires in Alberta, Yukon

With a relatively quiet start to the forest fire season in Ontario, crews have headed west to help with out of control wildfires in Alberta and Yukon.

About 5,000 people have been forced to leave their homes as wildfires rage across northern Alberta

More than 70 wildfires are burning in Alberta and 29 of them are considered to be out-of-control. (Alberta Wildfire Info)

With a relatively quiet start to the forest fire season in Ontario, crews have headed west to help with out-of-control wildfires in Alberta and Yukon.

About 5,000 people have been forced to leave their homes as wildfires rage across northern Alberta. More than 70 wildfires are burning in the province and 29 of them are considered to be out-of-control.

The Ministry of Natural Resources said 126 Ontario firefighters are in communities around northern Alberta including Slave Lake, White Court, Peace River and High Level.

Some are actively fighting fires and some are stationed at bases for an initial attack on new fires, the ministry said.

"There's no way that any province or territory can have adequate staff to prepare for the worst case scenario," said Shayne McCool, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Sudbury.

"When resource levels are adequate for Ontario we can identify that and send the appropriate levels of staff out of province so they may help with the extreme fire hazards elsewhere."

The ministry has also sent 74 firefighters to Yukon. Crews in the territory have dealt with more than two dozen fires already this spring.

The forest fire season in Ontario has been relatively quiet so far, but crews have dealt with several fires in the northwestern region of the province.

Travel on roads and highways was temporarily interrupted in the districts of Dryden, Kenora and Sioux Lookout as a result of wildfires and smoke, the ministry said, but none of the fires have been close enough to communities to force evacuations.

The forest fire hazard in Ontario ranges from low to moderate, with areas north of Timmins and south of Algonquin Park experiencing the greatest hazard.

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