Wildfires in Alberta, Canada have burned more than 700,000 acres of land and have forced 11,000 people to evacuate, according to the province’s government.
The government of Alberta said that at least two out-of-control wildfires are burning in the area — the Chuckegg Creek Wildfire and the Jackpot Creek Wildfire.
The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire, burning in Mackenzie County just two miles south of the town of High Level, has burned nearly 692,000 acres, while the Jackpot Creek Wildfire, near Steen River, has burned more than 61,000 acres, government officials said.
The fires started in late May and have continued to grow because of dry conditions in the area.
Schools in the affected area remain closed as evacuation orders continue, with some announcing they would stay closed for the rest of the school year.
There were 28 wildfires burning in Alberta as of Monday morning, according to Alberta Wildfire. Eight of them were burning “out of control.”
Mandatory evacuations remained in place Tuesday for at least seven communities including Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, Keg River, Steen River, Trout Lake area of Peerless Trout First Nation, Hamlet of Marten Beach, MD of Lesser Slave River, and other areas of Mackenzie County.
Residents who were already evacuated from High Level, Dene Tha’ First Nation communities of Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh, and areas of Mackenzie County were allowed to return to their homes on Monday but have been warned they may have to evacuate again.
More than 2,300 firefighters have responded to the growing fires, using 228 helicopters and 28 air tankers in the fire fight, the Alberta government said Monday.
Smoke from the fires has been so widespread that it reached parts of the southeastern US Monday.