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Canada. Record fires. Two firefighters died fighting the fire

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Canada is battling extensive forest fires. Fires are recorded in 883 places, of which firefighters have problems with controlling them in more than half of them. Two firemen have died in the battle so far. Since the beginning of the year, flames have consumed a record area of ​​forests across the country.

Since May, fire has been consuming forests in Canada, destroying millions of green spaces. According to government statistics, forests are burning in 883 places and 580 fires are out of control. The most difficult situation is in British Columbia on the west coast of the country – there firefighters are battling the flames in 373 places.

Two firefighters are dead

The British Columbia provincial government has asked for military support and ground and air reconnaissance teams have been on site since Sunday to assess needs, Canadian media reported on Sunday. Last Friday, British Columbia’s Minister of Emergency Situations, Bill Blair, announced that firefighters would be assisted by ex-military units on patrol duty, and also by military aviation during the evacuation. The province is plagued by an exhausting drought, and last Thursday the government appealed to save water. Strong gusts of wind make fighting the element difficult.

The first fatality of fighting forest fires in Canada was Davyn Gale, who served with the fire departments of British Columbia. The woman died Thursday night. The Canadian flag was flown at half-mast on Friday to honor the memory of the deceased. A second firefighter died Sunday fighting a blaze in the Northwest Territories region. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the officer, stressing that he was “immensely saddened (…) that another firefighter lost his life fighting forest fires”.

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Record fires

2023 is Canada’s worst ever forest fire. More than 10 million hectares of forest have burned since the beginning of the year, according to the Canadian Forest Fire Monitoring Center (CIFFC). The previous record, from 1995, was just over 7 million hectares burned during the whole year. The effects of fires are also felt in cities, which are regularly shrouded in smoke and dust.

The authorities of the provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia turned to the federal government for help from the military in June, and Alberta in May. Other countries also provided assistance. To help put out the fire, firefighters from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, South Africa and France flew to Canada.

Fires over British Columbia, pic. satellite, 07/12/23NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin/MODIS/EOSDIS LANCE/GIBS/Worldview

PAP, Reuters, Global News Canada, CIFFC

Main photo source: BC Wildfire Service

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