Alberta Wildfires Blow Heavy Smoke Into US, Triggering Alerts

May 22, 2023

Rising Temperatures Fuel Wildfires

Wildfires that forced over 29,000 people to leave their homes in western Canada, are blowing thick smoke into the US. The smoke is triggering air quality alerts in several states.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told people not to go outside over the weekend because of the smoke in Denver and other parts of the state. The National Weather Service said that the air quality is bad in all of Montana, and some parts of Arizona and Idaho, as well as Colorado. 

The fires have stopped some gas and oil production in a place called the "Texas of the North."  

Firefighters have been very busy over the weekend. That's because there are over 90 wildfires still burning in Alberta. A quarter of these fires are out of control. This year, firefighters in Alberta have fought 496 fires that have burned over 2 million acres. Last year, the fires burned 1,100 acres.

Christie Tucker is an Alberta Wildfire information officer. She told reporters on Saturday that, "This year's total is nearly 2,000 times last year." 

Most of the fires have burned forests. But about 275 buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Nobody has died yet. However, a 33-year-old firefighter who lost his house to a fire is now in a coma. He got hit in the head by a burned tree.  

Officials hope that it will rain this week to help the firefighters. 

Tucker said they would like to see a long-steady rain. "That will help us more than a short burst that would bring lightning and could spark a new wildfire."   

Reflect: What are some ways that people and governments can prevent wildfires or reduce their impact?

Based on the infographic, snow is melting up to _______ earlier than in previous years. (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. four months
b. two months
c. six weeks
d. four weeks
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