OTTAWA, June 8 (Reuters) – As Canada’s worst wildfire season begins and concerns over the worsening impact of climate change grow, allies around the world are pledging to help Canada fight hundreds of wildfires. promise to strengthen.
Wildfires continued to burn across Canada on Thursday, forcing thousands from their homes and creating a smoky haze over large swathes of the United States.
Wildfires are common in Canada, but it is unusual for fires to erupt simultaneously in eastern and western Canada, straining firefighting resources and forcing the Canadian government to deploy the military to rescue them.
The United States has sent hundreds of firefighters to Canada over the past few weeks and is sending more.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to double the number of U.S. personnel available to help fight Canada’s wildfires.
“The climate crisis is real and will continue. We must take action on the climate crisis in the short and long term,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday thanked US President Joe Biden for his support and discussed the need to “work together to address the devastating effects of climate change,” according to a statement from Trudeau’s office.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that France, Portugal and Spain have deployed more than 280 firefighters. South Africa, Australia and New Zealand have also sent personnel.
About 12,600 people have been forced to flee their homes after the worst fires in Quebec’s eastern province, François Bonardel, the province’s public safety minister, said at a news conference on Thursday.
“We are not happy with the situation. Some fires have been brought under control, but some fires have not,” Bonnadel told reporters. There are currently about 133 fires in the state.
About 3.8 million hectares (9.4 million acres) have already been burned, according to Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, about 15 times the annual average of the past decade. Warm and dry conditions are expected to persist for the next few months.
Alberta’s wildfire season began unseasonably early last month, consuming a record amount of land, and Nova Scotia continues to battle one of the largest wildfires in history.
Parts of the Pacific state of British Columbia, which is battling the second-largest wildfires on record, are expected to hit 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday, with thunderstorms and heavy rain on Friday. there is
Rob Schweitzer, executive director of BC WildFire, said lightning strikes could spark more fires in forests with dry craters, and the outcome would depend on the amount of precipitation that accompanies the storm.
“If your state has 150 or 200 lightning strikes a day, it’s impossible to have enough resources to contain them all,” he said.
Wildfires in Alberta, the heart of Canada’s oil and gas industry, have subsided, but more than 3,000 people remain under evacuation orders and heat warnings are in effect for southern parts of the province.
Nia Williams from British Columbia and Ismail Shakir and David Junggren from Ottawa.Editing: Cynthia Osterman, Sharon Singleton
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.