Canada calls for international assistance in the face of wildfires
Thousands of firefighters have been battling violent wildfires across Canada since May. More than half a million hectares of forests and grasslands have already burned. The situation is “worrying”, warns the Minister of Public Security.
Canada has appealed internationally for help as the wildfires continue to spread. “The situation in Alberta remains very concerning and dangerous,” Public Safety Secretary Bill Blair said in Ottawa. Another challenge is that there are now major fires in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. Therefore, Canada is now reaching out to “other countries, the United States, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand” and asking them for help.
Wildfires raging in Alberta since early May have already burned more than half a million hectares of forest and grassland. Many residential buildings and businesses were destroyed. About 2,500 firefighters from across the country and 400 soldiers have battled the blazes in the province, 27 of which are currently out of control.
In the westernmost province of British Columbia, there were 60 fires on Wednesday, 15 of which were believed to be out of control. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the fires in the Northwest Territories region.
“There is no doubt that the summer will be difficult and that we will need help,” said Josée St-Onge, spokeswoman for Alberta emergency services. Given the number of fires, it will take months to deal with them “unless a significant climate change brings a lot of humidity”, she said. It will be a “long fight”.
April was a very dry month in western Canada, followed by record high temperatures and strong winds from the beginning of May. For several years, Western Canada has been repeatedly hit by extreme weather events which, according to experts, are increasing in intensity and frequency due to climate change.
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