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Number of wildfires in Alberta drops over cooler, wet long weekend

Rain over the long weekend helped some 2,900 wildland firefighters and support staff in Alberta. Cooler temperatures this week could help even more, officials say.

The number of fires in Alberta's protected forest areas – where the governmental agency Alberta Wildfire leads the response – dropped from 91 on Saturday to 71 on Monday. The number had not changed as of Tuesday afternoon.

"Today we've seen a continuation of the showers that started in the province yesterday and the lower fire behaviour that resulted from that," Alberta Wildfire information unit manager Christie Tucker said. "Many of the major wildfires burning received some rain which means these are good days for firefighters to make real progress in containing these fires."

Temperatures are expected to remain low throughout the week.

About 10,655 Albertans remain forced from their homes because of wildfire threat.

No new evacuation alerts or orders were issued over Monday night.

Smoke from the fires is affecting air quality in a number of communities throughout the province.

"Once we are able to bring more of the wildfires to 'being held' status, or under control eventually, you will see less fire behaviour and there should be less smoke," Tucker said.

The evacuation centre at the Expo Centre that housed residents from Drayton Valley and Brazeau County closed on Tuesday after they were allowed to return home last week.

Alberta will give another wildfire update Wednesday afternoon. 

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