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Firefighters retreat as flames approac, amid the Grizzly Wildfire Complex in the East Prairie Metis Settlement, Alberta.

Alex Desjaralais via REUTERS

The North is burning

As voters were casting their ballots, firefighters were fighting dozens of wildfires across Alberta – a grim backdrop to the political debates about climate change and oil production that played out ahead of Monday’s election.

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A firefighter conducts a controlled ignition on the Sturgeon Lake Wildfire Complex GCX001 near Valleyview, Alberta.

Alberta Wildfire/Handout via REUTERS

Alberta wildfires send smoke far and wide – and south

Canada’s wildfire season is already in full swing, with a series of intense blazes in Alberta that have sent toxic smoke across the country and into the US Midwest. A wet and cold weekend followed by cooler temperatures this week helped firefighters from Canada and the US battle the 100+ fires, but dozens of blazes remain out of control. Fires are also burning in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, where thousands have been forced to evacuate. And it’s only May – wildfire season goes through September.

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A smoke column rises from wildfires near Fox Creek in Alberta, Canada.

Alberta Wildfire/Handout via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Wildfires for Alberta, Canadians for defense spending, last supper for Jenny Craig, Meta-threat for Canadian publishers

24,000: At least 24,000 people in Alberta were forced to evacuate their homes by wildfires this week. Authorities counted as many as 88 fires burning at one point. This year has seen an unusually high number of wildfires, with more than 400 recorded so far.

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