9 million hectares have already gone up in smoke – which is 11 times the average of the last decade. The situation is particularly complex for firefighters: both sides of the country are burning at the same time and areas unaccustomed to fires are affected.
The number of forest fires continues to increase in Canada, which counts this Friday more than 670 blazes, including more than 380 out of control, “outstanding figures” already with a “long and difficult summer” in perspective.
“The numbers are literally off the charts, with at least three months left in the active wildfire season,” said Michael Norton of Canada’s Department of Natural Resources.
And the weather forecasts for the coming weeks are counting on temperatures above seasonal norms in many parts of the country, in the west and also in northern Quebec, the region currently most affected by the fires.
A record well exceeded
With 9 million hectares already gone up in smoke – which represents 11 times the average of the last decade – the absolute annual record dating from 1989 has already been largely exceeded.
A total of 677 fires were active in the country on Friday (with 13 new blazes discovered during the day) and 386 uncontrolled. Some 155,000 people have been forced from their homes at some point since early May due to the fires, the highest figure for 40 years.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the 2023 fire season is and will continue to be a record high in many respects,” he continued, adding that he expects fire numbers to remain above the average. average all summer.
Global warming “in all its reality”
Especially since both sides of the country are burning at the same time and areas unaccustomed to fires are affected. One of the forest fires in northern Quebec alone burned more than a million hectares.
“Evacuations, poor air quality and extreme heat warnings, we are discovering the effects of climate change in all their reality,” lamented Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Health.
This situation has forced the authorities to call for international assistance at an unprecedented level to assist the 3,800 Canadian firefighters on the ground, who are supported by the Canadian Armed Forces.
Source: BFM TV