Alberta wildfires: More than 13,000 people evacuated in western Canada as fires burn across region amid hot weather and high winds

(CNN) More than 13,000 people living in the Canadian province of Alberta have been evacuated from wildfires that are seeing unusually hot weather and high winds, emergency officials said.

At least 78 wildfires are burning in Western Province, 19 of which are wildfires Burning out of control Stephane Lacroix, director of the region’s emergency management agency, told reporters during a press conference Friday.

“It’s a stark reminder of how unpredictable and powerful wildfires are,” Lacroix said.

Some residents of the community of Fox Lake, where the fire is raging, had to be evacuated by helicopter, said Christie Tucker, information division manager for Alberta Wildfire. On Friday morning, dozens of firefighters were battling the Fox Lake blaze, which had burned nearly 11,000 acres, officials said.

In Drayton Valley, firefighters, helicopters and air tankers battled the out-of-control fire, which had burned more than 3,700 acres, Tucker said.

Officials in Yellowhead County and the city of Edson have ordered immediate evacuations due to wildfires burning in Alberta, Edson officials tweeted. According to the community’s website, the town of Edson is home to just under 9,000 people.

Friday night, Alberta officials Mandatory evacuation order extended At Lac Ste. Anne County, about 50 miles northwest of Edmonton. Officials said the evacuation of residents could last up to three days.

Parts of Big Lakes County — home to about 5,600 residents — were ordered to evacuate, including residents east of the West Prairie River and south of Highway 749 and Township Road 724. It is not clear how many people were affected by the evacuation.

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Officials asked Banana Belt residents to prepare “their properties by removing piles of wood, debris and plowing around the property if possible.”

“Life and health are at risk,” Big Lakes County officials said said in a post.

“Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees above normal for a while now,” Tucker said. “We still don’t have green grass and leaves across the province, which means the land is very dry.”

Tucker said the northern province is experiencing very hot conditions and high winds, and residents are not allowed to have open logs on public or private land while the fire is burning.

There have been 348 wildfires in Alberta since January, burning more than 61,776 acres, Tucker said.

“This is more wildfire activity for this time of year than we’ve seen at any time recently,” Tucker noted.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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