Satellite images capture smoke from out-of-control wildfires in Alberta

Wildfires that are burning out-of-control in western Canada are producing so much smoke that it can be seen from space.

Approximately 108 fires have erupted across Alberta leading to the evacuation of 29,000 people. A state of emergency has been declared across the province.

A satellite from the Copernicus Sentinel programme of the European Space Agency captured the huge smoke plume from the blazes on 6 May. The cloud stretches 930 miles and has reached the Arctic Circle.

Local authorities have called the fires “unprecedented” after more than 122,000 hectares were destroyed.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” said Alberta’s premier Danielle Smith. “We’ve declared a provincial state of emergency to protect the safety, health and welfare of Albertans.”

She noted that the province “has been experiencing a hot, dry spring and with so much kindling, all it takes is a few sparks to ignite some truly frightening wildfires.”

Strong winds are fanning the flames and have led to the evacuation of communities in Athabasca, Big Lakes, Brazeau, Grande Prairie and Yellowhead counties. Others are being warned to prepare “to evacuate on short notice”.

One video posted on social media showed a huge fire engulfing farms as water-bombing helicopters and air tankers doused the blaze.

In the town of Fox Lake nearly two dozen homes, the police station and water treatment plant were gutted by fire, authorities said.