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Alberta situation 'volatile', more wildfires expected

STORY: As of Saturday evening, 83 fires were burning across Alberta, 22 considered to be out of control, with about 16,500 people needing to be evacuated from the area, officials said at a press briefing.

“We are seeing widespread cross-over conditions, which means that the temperature is higher than the relative humidity. These conditions lead to extreme fire behavior and will challenge our firefighters on the ground,” Alberta Wildfire information officer Josee St-Onge said at the briefing.

Special alerts have been declared across western Canada, where officials have urged vigilance as temperatures in some areas are forecast to hit 86° Fahrenheit (or 30° Celsius), about 50 degrees more than usual.

“We remain in an extremely volatile situation and the risk of new wildfires remains significant in much of the province hot and dry conditions are expected to continue over the weekend and into next week,” Bre Hutchinson, the Executive Director of Alberta Emergency Management said.

The Canadian army is helping with firefighting and recovery efforts in the province, where a state of emergency has been called since last Saturday. More than 200 soldiers were deployed after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government approved a request for federal assistance on Thursday, with about 100 more expected to join them over the weekend.