|A NASA image taken on July 4 shows smoke from the western Canadian wildfires spreading south and east into the US and Great Lakes. (The fires are the red dots while the thin, white almost translucent clouds are the smoke).|
|Strong thunderstorms brought some relief from the high heat to Calgary but also produced tons of hail and flooding. (Photo Jim Wells via Twitter/TWN)|
Intense wildfires are burning thousands of acres of land across a wide area of northern Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and parts of Alberta. Over 12,000 have been forced to evacuate especially in hard hit northern Saskatchewan near La Ronge. Western Canada has had a very hot an dry weather pattern for several weeks now. There was a break in the hot weather yesterday with a strong cold front producing heavy thunderstorms. There were reports of large hail, flooding and even tornadoes from southern Alberta including Calgary into southeast Saskatchewan. More storms are forecast today from Manitoba into the Dakotas and northwest Ontario. But the area that needs the rain the most remains very dry. Over 570 wildfires have been reported in Saskatchewan this year, nearly three times the amount reported last year at this time. The fires have destroyed nearly 40 homes. Smoke from the fires has spread acorns western Canada prompting numerous air quality advisories. The winds aloft have carried the smoke into the northern and central plains of the US and has even spread east into the Great Lakes and southern Quebec.