So far, wildfires have raged mainly in western Canada. The eastern province of Quebec is also reporting 140 fires. But there are also reasons for optimism.
Montreal. For weeks, emergency services have been battling wildfires in large parts of Canada – now the situation has also worsened in the province of Quebec. In the early morning of Sunday, 140 fires were active in the eastern province of the country. An area of approximately 183,000 hectares was affected, more than twice the area of Berlin.
Evacuation orders have been enforced for thousands of residents in the area, as reported by public broadcaster CBC. In the city of Sept-Îles alone, nearly 790 kilometers northeast of Montreal, around 10,000 people have had to leave their homes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Twitter on Saturday that he would use members of the Canadian Armed Forces to help fight the fires. According to authorities, there have already been 388 forest fires in Quebec this year, nearly double the average of the last ten years.
Update: We will be rolling out @CanadianForces members to help support Quebec’s response to the ongoing wildfires and provide firefighting resources.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 3, 2023
In the province of Nova Scotia, south of Quebec, where several fires got out of control at the beginning of last week, the situation has calmed down somewhat. Authorities said only five of the 10 initial fires were still active on Saturday. There is reason to be cautious, the province’s premier, Tim Houston, told a news conference on Saturday – also due to weather conditions. “When you go out, you will see something beautiful: rain, and I hope a lot.”
Western Canada has also been battling devastating wildfires for weeks. More than 564 fires have burned more than a million hectares of land in the province of Alberta this year, authorities said. This is about two-thirds the size of Schleswig-Holstein. In more than half of the cases, the fires were caused by people, authorities said.
Given climate change, experts warn that the frequency and intensity of wildfires will increase. In the prairie provinces of western Canada, the average temperature has increased by 1.9 degrees Celsius since the middle of the 20th century, according to Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
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