Smoke from Alberta’s wildfires has drifted to a number of American cites once again this year, and it may be cloudier than usual as a result.
According to the Twin Cities Branch of the National Weather Service, the lack of sunlight in America’s Upper Midwest can be credited to Alberta’s wildfire season.
According to FireSmoke Canada, a informational portal about smoke from wildfires, other Canadian regions — including some parts of western Ontario and southwestern B.C. — are also experiencing cloudy skies and air quality warnings due to the smoke.
The live smoke tracker on the website also shows northern U.S. cities such as Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City largely obscured by smoke. At the time of this writing, the smoke reaches as far south as Denver.
The smoke from Alberta’s spring wildfires often drifts into northern American cities at this time of year.
As of Thursday, there are 29 fires burning across Alberta and nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, with a number of cities now on evacuation alert. Slave Lake is the most recent city to be placed on alert.
The Alberta government has also issued an emergency alert for Chipewyan Lake Village, about 450 km north of Edmonton. People were asked to leave immediately because of a rapidly-moving wildfire that threatens to cut off access to the area.
Different fires have also forced evacuations from the hamlet of High Level, Wabasca, the Bigstone Cree Nation and Northern Lights County.
High Level Mayor Crystal McAteer, Reeve Josh Knelsen of Mackenzie County and Dene Tha’ First Nation Chief James Ahnassay issued a joint statement late Wednesday on Facebook.
“We know that many of you are very anxious to hear about what is happening with the wildfire and the situation in our communities. Many of you have been out of your homes and away from your work for a long time,” they wrote.
WATCH: Coverage of the 2019 Alberta wildfires on Global News
However, despite the fires’ colossal impact to the province’s communities, a representative from Alberta Wildfire previously told Global News that there are actually fewer wildfires burning this season than there were during the 2018 wildfire season.
“Currently, the 2019 wildfire season, which started March 1, we’ve seen more than 500 wildfires so far,” Gagnon previously told Global News.
“That number is actually a little bit less than we saw in the 2018 wildfire season. But the number of hectares burned is far greater, as well as some of the wildfires that are burning are closer to communities.”
View the live smoke map here: Firesmoke.ca
— With a file from the Associated Press and from Simon Little.