Family Flees Wildfires As Car Melts Around Them

Canada is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record, with nearly 1,100 active fires burning across the country as of Wednesday.

Western Canada is enduring a heatwave that saw 19 daily temperature records broken on Tuesday and is fuelling hundreds of out-of-control wildfires.

Experience shared by one evacuee:

One evacuee, in a poor health condition told the reporter her "car began melting as they drove through embers" while fleeing the town on Sunday.

The evacuation order for Hay River in at 3 p.m. on Sunday, but mere hours later the highway from Hay River to Enterprise was closed due to a fire near Paradise Gardens and Garden Road and by 7 p.m. people were being told to head to the airport to evacuate by air.

"You couldn't see anything — we were driving through embers," Mundy, a mother of two said.

"I was obviously scared the tire was going to break, our car was going to catch on fire and then it went from just embers to full smoke."

Mundy said "the front window cracked and the vehicle started to melt and fill up with smoke" while driving. Travelling with her husband and two children, an 18-month-old and a six-year-old, Mundy said the "trip was traumatizing" for everyone including her older son.

"He actually said to me, 'I don't want to die, mommy,' and he kept saying it so many times," she told.

"I ended up calling 911 and I think I was the one that got them to close the road down because after we went through … the road got shut down."

Mundy estimated the family drove through the worst of it for about 20 minutes.

After a quick stop in Enterprise, the family carried on to Alberta and made it to Valleyview, about 110 kilometres east of Grande Prairie.

The rescue operation:

Canada's military has been co-ordinating airlift operations out of several communities in Northwest Territories' South Slave Region that have been threatened by wildfires in recent days.

It is the largest airlift evacuation effort in the territory's history. Most evacuees have been brought south to the neighbouring province of Alberta, with no indication as to when they will be able to return home. Fort Smith, K'atl'odeeche First Nation, Hay River, Enterprise and Jean Marie River are all under evacuation orders.

The current scenario:

The fire moved 30km in a few hours because of strong winds earlier this week, closing the only two highways out of the town. Phone and internet services have also been down in the remote region.

The Northwest Territories along with Yellowknife declared a state of emergency late on Tuesday.

Hay River Mayor Kandis Jameson estimated that about 500 people were still in the community of some 3,500 people as of Tuesday despite an evacuation notice issued for the town over the weekend.

What scientists and experts told?

Experts have pointed to a warmer and drier spring than normal as the reason.

Scientists said: "climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires."

"Enterprise, home to 120 people, is 90% gone after a wildfire swept through this week," the community's mayor told on Tuesday.