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US and South African firefighters to battle wildfires in Canada

More than 300 firefighters from the United States and South Africa will head to Canada in the coming days as the country battles an unprecedented wildfire season.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — More than 300 firefighters from the United States and South Africa will head to Canada in the coming days to help the country battle an unprecedented wildfire season.

Federal officials said Thursday that at least 100 US firefighters will arrive in Nova Scotia over the weekend to help put out wildfires that have forced some 21,000 people from their homes since Sunday.

Another 200 firefighters arriving from South Africa are likely to end up in Alberta, although authorities say the bushfire situation in the country is fluid.

In Nova Scotia, two major fires that remain out of control, one in suburban Halifax and the other in the southwestern corner of the province, have already destroyed at least 200 homes and cabins.

Still, firefighters announced Thursday that the fire near Halifax had been 50% contained and had not grown on Wednesday.

The latest contingent of international firefighters to arrive will join hundreds of their colleagues from countries including the United States, Australia and New Zealand who were already in Canada fighting fires.

Officials say the number of fires so far this year is roughly on par with 10-year averages, but the amount of land consumed by those fires, roughly 27,000 square kilometers (104,000 square miles) and counting, “does not It has precedents.”

The federal government said late Wednesday that it has approved the Nova Scotia government’s desperate plea for help, and that the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to help with logistics and resources to combat fires and hot spots.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says it is a “simple fact” that Canada is seeing the impacts of climate change, which may include more frequent and more extreme wildfires.

Much of the province experienced a very mild winter with very little snowfall and there has been no significant rainfall in the past 12 days.

Additionally, April was the driest month on record at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

There have been no deaths or injuries as a result of the fires.

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