The forest fire situation in Canada has reached a critical point, with over 670 blazes reported, more than 380 of which are out of control. This poses a daunting challenge for the upcoming summer months.
“The numbers are staggering, and we still have a long way to go in this wildfire season,” warned Michael Norton of the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources.
The weather forecasts for the coming weeks predict above-average temperatures in many parts of the country, especially in the west and northern Quebec, which is the hardest-hit region.
With a total of nine million hectares (22.2 million acres) already burned, surpassing the record set in 1989, the scale of destruction is unprecedented.
As of Friday, there are 677 active fires in the country, with 13 new blazes discovered during the day. Out of these, 386 fires are burning out of control.
The impact on communities is significant, with approximately 155,000 people having to evacuate their homes since May, the highest number in 40 years.
“The 2023 fire season is setting records in various ways,” Norton added, expressing his expectation for the number of fires to remain above average throughout the summer.
The fires are wreaking havoc on both sides of the country, affecting areas that are not accustomed to such disasters.
In northern Quebec alone, one forest fire has burned more than one million hectares.
“We are witnessing the tangible effects of climate change, from evacuations to poor air quality and extreme heat warnings,” stated Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
To combat the unprecedented situation, Canadian authorities have received substantial international aid, supporting the 3,800 firefighters on the ground, along with assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces.
“The firefighting effort has become a global operation,” Norton highlighted, as over 3,000 international firefighters from countries like New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, and South Korea are working relentlessly to combat these mega-fires.
The smoke from the fires has resulted in air pollution affecting more than 100 million people in Canada and the neighboring United States. This has also caused disruptions in flights and the cancellation of outdoor events.
© 2023 AFP
Wildfires ‘off the charts’ in Canada as temperatures climb (2023, July 8)
retrieved 8 July 2023
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Shambhu Kumar is a science communicator, making complex scientific topics accessible to all. His articles explore breakthroughs in various scientific disciplines, from space exploration to cutting-edge research.