Thousands escape raging wildfire in western Canada

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Thousands of people are out of their homes in Canada's western province of British Columbia due to a raging wildfire, local media reported Saturday, Xinhua reports. 

According to the report, the Parker Lake wildfire was first detected in Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation in the province on Friday around 5:25 p.m. PT (1225 GMT, Saturday). It ballooned in size from half-a-square km to nearly 17 square km by Saturday morning.

About 3,600 people had to flee the fire and head south 380 km to the town of Fort St. John after an evacuation order was issued on Friday, CBC News reported.

The fire was sparked after high winds caused a tree to fall onto a power line and catch fire. The winds then whipped up the fire out of control, the report said.

A total of 137 fires were actively burning nationwide on Saturday with 39 fires categorized as out of control, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.

The Canadian government warned Thursday that above-normal temperatures nationwide could lead to greater wildfire risks.

Canada's wildfire season in 2023 is the most destructive on record.

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