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Wildfires burning in nearly every province across Canada

In Canada’s worst start to the fire season on record, wildfires are burning in nearly every province across the country.

About 200 wildfires are burning across Canada, and more than half are out of control. Source - Alberta Wildfire
About 200 wildfires are burning across Canada, and more than half are out of control. Source - Alberta Wildfire

In Canada’s worst start to the fire season on record, wildfires are burning in nearly every province across the country.

About 200 wildfires are currently burning across the country, and more than half are out of control. Major fires were ongoing in more than half the nation’s provinces as of Friday.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the severity of the situation:

“Communities are being displaced. This is a scary time for a lot of people from coast to coast to coast. Our number one priority is keeping Canadians safe and making sure that they have the support they need.”

Several major fires continue to burn in Nova Scotia. The largest, the Barrington Lake Fire in the province’s coastal south, has burned more than 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares), becoming Nova Scotia’s largest blaze on record. 

And on Friday, amid record heat, multiple fires erupted in Quebec, with enormous smoke plumes detected by weather satellites. About 10,000 residents evacuated their homes in Sept-Iles on Friday as wildfires spread in eastern Canada and stretched firefighting resources already tackling blazes across the country.

It is now being reported that another Quebec municipality was evacuated due to forest fires Friday evening. The 2,000 residents of Lebel-sur-Quévillon were called to leave their homes as a nearby blaze approached the community.

As of Saturday morning, the SOPFEU website lists 137 active fires across Quebec covering over 58,000 hectares (143,300 acres).

Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, in a Friday morning briefing, said, “The situation remains severe across the country. Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia – they are all experiencing interface wildfires,” he said, referring to fires that have the potential to impact buildings and forest fuel or vegetation simultaneously.

Many countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, have sent firefighters to help with Canada’s blazes. Even Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, offered on Friday to send firefighters from Poland if needed.

Large-scale wildfires across Canada have caused dense levels of smoke, according to Copernicus, the EU’s climate change service.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which tracks fire activity, wrote Thursday that emissions into the atmosphere from the fires were near the highest on record in Canada during May.

Emissions for the month reached 54.8 million tonnes, more than double the carbon emitted by wildfires in any May since estimates began in 2003.

“Current projections indicate that this may continue to be a challenging summer for wildfires in parts of the country,” the Government of Canada wrote in a statement Thursday. “Forecasts for warm, dry weather indicate the potential for increased fire activity.”

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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