As hundreds of fires from coast to coast continue to spew massive clouds of smoke into the air, Canada is enduring its most catastrophic wildfire season on record. The scale of the air pollution going south across the Canadian border and into the United States was documented by satellite photographs during the previous month, showing thick bands of soot and smoke particles that caused cloudy skies and triggered air quality alarms across the country.
Canada, which has around 9 percent of the world’s woods, enters its annual wildfire season at this time. Since the season lasts from May to October every year, the damage witnessed so early in the year placed the country on course for its worst season in more than 30 years. Thousands of Canadians have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the widespread outbreak of out-of-control fires.
Smoke from Canadian wildfires has alerted over 80 million people from the Midwest to the East Coast.
Wildfires have spread across Canada, as seen by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre’s daily updated map, but eastern provinces like Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia have been affected especially hard this year. On Tuesday, officials reported 117 active fires in Quebec, the greatest number ever registered. The western Canadian province of British Columbia recorded the third-highest number of fires, with 99, behind only Alberta and Ontario.
Canadian officials have noted the unprecedented breadth of the outbreak, which has affected every province from the westernmost to the easternmost. Climate change and drought have been linked to the unprecedented wildfire season that Canada is currently experiencing, according to both political figures like Vice President Joe Biden and environmental specialists. In addition, as CBS News has observed, the extreme Canadian weather is aiding the fires and making it more difficult for firefighters to put them out.
Since the year 2023 began, 2,956 fires have been reported to the National Interagency Fire Center. According to the institute, wildfires in Canada this year have charred at least 7.8 million hectares of land, or about 19.2 million acres. According to Canada’s National Forestry Database, this area is larger than the previous yearly record set in 1989.
According to the most recent interagency tally, there were 490 active fires burning throughout Canada on Tuesday, with two additional fires being reported since the previous day’s update.
The air quality in Chicago and Minneapolis was ranked as the world’s worst and second-worst on Tuesday, according to the Swiss air quality technology company IQAir, following a spell of fog, fumes, and copper skies in the northeastern U.S. earlier in June due to wildfire smoke traveling south from eastern Canadian provinces. Smoke from wildfires in eastern Canada has spread over the Atlantic Ocean and into Europe, according to a NASA picture issued on Tuesday.
There were 259 fires throughout Canada that were considered to be “out of control” as of Tuesday. The department had previously reported 250 fires as being out of control, so the increase was minimal. Of the remaining wildfires under observation, 158 were deemed to be “under control,” while another 73 were labeled as “being held,” meaning they were neither under control nor spreading.
Officials in Canada have declared “national preparedness level 5” in response to the wildfires, which indicates the government will use all available resources to put out the fires. A research officer from the Canadian Forest Office previously told CBS News that Mr. Biden had said that American firemen would be dispatched to Canada to participate in the endeavor with those from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Q1. Where are the fires in Canada burning?
The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reports approximately 500 wildfires across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
Q2. How big are Canadian wildfires?
Canada’s deadliest wildfire season has burned 76,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) across eastern and western Canada. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says that’s more than 2016–2022.