Canada Wildfires Rage in Alberta and British Columbia

British Columbia was the site in 2021 of one of Canada’s worst wildfires in recent decades, when fires decimated the tiny community of Lytton after temperatures there reached a record 49.6 degrees Celsius, or 121.3 Fahrenheit.

Not since the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic buffeted the region has the area been so overcome by apprehension, accompanied by the all-too familiar need to wear masks outside. Only this time, residents say, a silent killer has been replaced by something more visceral and visible.

So far, no deaths have been reported. But in Alberta, Frankie Payou, a firefighter and 33-year-old father of three from the East Prairie Métis Settlement in Northern Alberta, was in a coma with severe injuries after being hit in the head by a burned tree. His home was also destroyed by a fire.

The bulk of the fires are in the far north of the province, home to many Indigenous communities, dealing a heavy blow to people who depend on the land and natural resources.

At a sprawling evacuation center in Edmonton, Ken Zenner, 61, a father of eight, two of whom are members of the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, said he and his family had been evacuated from the town of Valleyview. He worried how they would get by.

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