More than 300 firefighters from the United States and South Africa will help fight the wildfires in Canada. Canada’s eastern province of Nova Scotia and western province of Alberta are both experiencing an exceptionally severe wildfire season, with fires burning. Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes due to the fire.
The first 100 U.S. firefighters are expected to arrive in Nova Scotia next week. They will help bring under control the massive wildfire that has so far reduced about 200 (holiday) homes to ashes. South Africa’s support, about 200 people, is expected to go to Alberta first.
Across the country, around 27,000 square kilometers have been destroyed by wildfires so far, according to Emergency Situations Minister Blair. It is almost the size of Belgium. According to Blair, the ten-year average is 500 square kilometers, which makes the current situation quite exceptional. Of Canada’s 211 wildfires so far, 82 are burning out of control. The number of fires is not exceptional, but their size is.
“These conditions are unprecedented this early in the season,” says Blair. “Due to climate change, these types of effects of extreme weather events may occur more frequently and hit our country more severely.” Natural Resources Minister Wilkinson also says it’s “a simple fact” that Canada is facing the effects of climate change.
Prime Minister Trudeau has expressed concern about wildfires that are also threatening residential areas in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. “The stories and images from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick break my heart. We know people are very concerned about what’s going on. As a federal government, we stand. We will stand by the people.”
Wildfires have also affected air quality in the United States. In western Michigan, northern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, the National Weather Service NWS expects high levels of pollutants in the air as a result of the fires. “This requires vulnerable groups to do the least strenuous outdoor activities possible.”
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