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Authorities in Canada’s Oil-Producing Province Close Parks
Officials in Alberta, Canada’s primary oil-producing province, have taken measures to address the potential threat of wildfires during the Victoria Day weekend. They have temporarily closed certain parks and campgrounds and are advising residents to refrain from engaging in activities that could trigger fires. This proactive approach aims to prevent the strain on firefighting resources, as the holiday weekend typically witnesses an increase in seasonal wildfires, including those inadvertently sparked by individuals, as reported by Alberta Wildfire.
This year, however, western Canada has experienced an unusually severe wildfire season due to unprecedented high temperatures and extremely dry vegetation. Alberta has been particularly affected, with approximately 10,000 individuals displaced from their homes as of Thursday.
In light of the forecasted abnormally hot and dry weather persisting until early next week, Alberta has proactively closed select provincial parks and campgrounds for the weekend and implemented a fire ban.
Alberta’s Minister of Forestry, Parks, and Tourism, Todd Loewen, emphasized the importance of safety and precautionary measures to mitigate wildfire risks. “While certain outdoor activities can still be pursued, we urge Albertans to prioritize their well-being and take necessary precautions to minimize the potential for wildfires,” Loewen stated on Thursday. “Although it may not appear significant, your actions this weekend can have a meaningful impact.”
Authorities have issued a warning about the potential spread of additional wildfires in the upcoming hot and dry days, despite firefighters making headway in containing numerous blazes that have disrupted natural gas flow from Canada to the United States, resulting in surging prices.
As of Thursday, approximately 2,700 firefighters, comprising personnel from Canadian and U.S. agencies, along with the Canadian army, are engaged in combatting around 92 active wildfires.
This year’s wildfire count has exceeded the norm, putting Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s disaster management capabilities, as well as her party’s policies, under scrutiny in anticipation of the provincial election on May 29.
The fire-related hazards have compelled oil and gas companies to curtail production by a minimum of 319,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, accounting for 3.7% of the nation’s total output.
According to consulting firm Rystad Energy, nearly 2.7 million barrels per day of Alberta oil sands production in May faces significant risk within “very high” or “extreme” wildfire danger rating zones.
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