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Wildfires in Canada have burned 10 times more land than usual



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Wildfires in Canada have scorched swathes of land and forced thousands from their homes, prompting firefighters from around the world to descend on the country to help put out the flames.

The burned area is 2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres), or the equivalent of more than 5 million football fields, government officials told reporters Thursday. That’s more than 10 times the average area that has typically been burned by this time of year over the past decade.

The fires have been burning from coasts west to east – from British Columbia to Nova Scotia – and have prompted some 28,000 Canadians to evacuate.


“It is a simple fact that Canada is experiencing the impact of climate change, including more frequent and more intense wildfires. Canadians are personally seeing and feeling the effects of these fires,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson.

An unusually early start to the wildfire season in the northern country has put federal and provincial officials on high alert and raised concerns about exhausting firefighting resources before summer officially begins. To that end, Wilkinson and his colleagues sought to reassure Canadians that they were preparing not only for a long, hot, dry summer, but also for the impacts of climate change in the future.

Hundreds of firefighters from the United States, Australia and New Zealand have already arrived in Canada to help with containment efforts, while about 200 South Africans are on their way. Officials said Mexican crews are likely to be recruited soon as well.

There have been 1,000 fires so far this year, of which about 200 are currently active and 82 are considered out of control.

Alberta, Canada’s largest oil-producing province, was the site of some of the oldest and largest fires. Large amounts of oil and gas production had to be shut down, but most of it has since resumed.


Fires in eastern Nova Scotia are a growing concern for officials with about 200 homes lost. Fires are also burning in nearby New Brunswick, officials said, and Newfoundland’s air quality has been affected.

They said the effects on industry in general, including agriculture, energy, transportation and communications, were minor.

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