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US and South African firefighters to help battle Canada’s ‘unprecedented’ fires

OTTAWA — 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 that has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes so far. of year.

OTTAWA — 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 that has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes so far this month. anus.

About 100 US firefighters are expected to arrive in Nova Scotia on Monday, June 5, to help put out wildfires that have destroyed at least 200 homes and cabins, authorities said Thursday. Another 200 firefighters arriving from South Africa are likely to end up in Alberta, although officials said the bushfire situation in the country is fluid.

Support from the Canadian Armed Forces is also on the way to both provinces.

Wildfires across the country have so far devoured some 27,000 square kilometers of land, Bill Blair, the federal emergency preparedness minister, told reporters. The national 10-year average is about 500 square kilometers, he said.

“These conditions at the beginning of the season are unprecedented,” Blair said, adding that Canada faces a “dangerous” situation. “Due to climate change, similar extreme weather events may continue to increase in both frequency and severity across our country.”

On Thursday there were 211 wildfires across the country, and 82 of them were out of control.

Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Ontario, and most recently Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are among the Canadian jurisdictions that have been affected by wildfires so far this year. Firefighters arriving in the coming days from the United States and South Africa will join hundreds of their colleagues from the US, Australia and New Zealand already in Canada fighting fires.

Ottawa said it has approved the Nova Scotia government’s latest request for assistance and the Canadian Armed Forces are preparing to provide extensive support, including logistics and resources to combat fires and hot spots. Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said aid would start arriving “hopefully” by the end of the day.

“The simple fact is that Canada is experiencing the impacts of climate change, including more frequent and more extreme wildfires,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 1, 2023.

the canadian press




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