Alberta Wildfires Force Tens of Thousands in Canada to Evacuate

The fires in Alberta come as the province prepares for elections on May 29. Under normal circumstances, Ms. Smith, who has been critical of many climate measures introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, would be prohibited by provincial election rules from making major decisions during the period before the vote. The emergency, however, has changed that and has led Ms. Smith to ask for federal assistance.

As a result, members of the Canadian military are on standby and would be deployed by the federal government if needed, Ms. Smith said. Troops typically help with evacuations and infrastructure repairs needed because of disasters. The federal government has also offered to provide other forms of support, and several provinces have sent fire crews to Alberta.

Mike Ellis, Alberta’s public safety minister, told reporters that there were limits to what any government or agency could do to fully extinguish the fires. In past years, a change in weather has ultimately been the only force that has brought blazes under control.

“I let everybody know that because there is no silver-bullet solution in our response,” he said.

Ian Austen reported from Calgary, Alberta, Amber Bracken from Edmonton, Alberta, and Vjosa Isai from Toronto.

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