What Alberta’s massive wildfires look like from space

Click to play video: 'Alberta wildfires: Satellite captures footage of fires ravaging the province'
Alberta wildfires: Satellite captures footage of fires ravaging the province
WATCH - Alberta wildfires: Satellite captures footage of fires ravaging the province – May 12, 2023

Newly released satellite photos show the massive extent of wildfires blazing in Alberta as the province continues its fight to extinguish them.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published six days’ worth of photos of the wildfires Thursday. So far, an estimated 405,908 hectares have burned or are burning in Alberta – double the area burnt in all of last year’s wildfire season.

As of Friday morning, the Alberta government reported at least 74 active wildfires, 21 of which were considered out of control. The government declared a state of emergency on May 6 after the wildfires intensified last week.

NOAA satellite photos show a series of wildfires breaking out on May 5 in the province.

A cluster of large wildfires can be seen burning in Alberta on May 5, 2023. NOAA/CIRA

In the week since, thousands have been evacuated from their homes with no timeline of return; the Canadian Armed Forces have been deployed to help and after a brief reprieve of cool weather, warm temperatures threaten to worsen the situation over the coming days.

Story continues below advertisement

Temperatures in the high 20s and low to mid-30s are expected in some areas over the coming days, with daytime highs soaring up to 15 degrees above normal.

Though the wildfires blaze in Alberta, their impact isn’t limited to the province’s borders as smoke from the wildfires was seen filling skies in Western Canada, NOAA photos show.

Thick smoke from wildfires in Alberta can be seen spreading over Western Canada between May 5 and May 8, 2023. NOAA/CIRA

The dire situation has even caught the attention of King Charles, who sent thoughts and prayers to the people of Alberta in a statement released through the Governor General’s office.

“We send our most special thoughts and prayers to all those who have been displaced and who have lost their homes, businesses or property. We would also like to express our deepest admiration to the first responders and volunteers who have been working to bring the fires under control, while also supporting their neighbours and communities in need,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We hold many fond memories of our visits to Western Canada and know that those affected will rise to this challenge with customary Canadian strength, resilience and determination.”

Smoke from the Alberta wildfires is seen reaching Ontario and the eastern United States on May 8, 2023. NOAA/CIRA

The Alberta government has announced it will join Ottawa in a donation-matching program with the Canadian Red Cross that would see every $1 donated become $3.

Indigenous Services Canada said late Wednesday that wildfires are threatening nine First Nations in Alberta, including the Little Red River Cree Nation, where more than 100 structures have been lost in the community of Fox Lake.

The provincial government declares March 1 the start of wildfire season.

Smoke from wildfires in Alberta continues to fill skies in the northeastern United States on May 10, 2023. NOAA/CIRA

— with files from Global News’ Eric Stober and The Canadian Press


Sponsored content