June 30, 2015 2:13 pm
Updated: July 1, 2015 7:31 pm

Wildfires rage across western Canada, air quality advisories issued

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WATCH ABOVE: Wildfires have forced at least 5,000 people from their homes in Saskatchewan and the air quality from all the thick smoke is making it hard to breath. It’s a similar situation in Alberta. The West is baking and there are still two more months of dry weather ahead. Reid Feist reports.

TORONTO – Unusually hot temperatures with little to no rain have exacerbated wildfires raging in western Canada.

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In Saskatchewan, Environment Canada issued an air quality statement for the entire province as well as parts of western Manitoba.

That’s because there are more than 64 wildfires burning more than 158,000 hectares of forest. To date, 507 fires have ravaged the province burning almost 400,000 hectares. Visibility has been reduced to less than two kilometres, particularly in central and northern parts of the province. The heavy smoke near the ground is also posing a health risk to those most vulnerable: children, people with respiratory illnesses and the elderly.

Already more than 1,300 people have been forced from their homes in several communities.

The situation is expected to persist over the next few days.

The situation across Alberta and British Columbia — while not as dire — is still concerning as hundreds of wildfires burn.

In Alberta, a total of 1,160 wildfires and 95,000 hectares of forest have burned this season. In B.C., 621 fires and 80,440 hectares have burned.

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Western Canada is coming off a weekend of record-breaking temperatures.

In British Columbia, 36 communities broke temperature records for June 27. Lightning strikes are believed to have started around 50 wildfires over the weekend.

WATCH: Lightning causes fires in B.C.

There are 125 fires burning in Alberta where the fire risk is highest in the north.

To date more than 1,158,432 hectares of forest have burned across the country.

— with files from Jon Azpiri

© 2015 Shaw Media

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