Record-breaking wildfire season in Canada remains challenging
OTTAWA, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Natural Resources Canada said Thursday the country's record-breaking wildfire season will continue to be challenging. The 2023 wildfire season has already been Canada's most severe on record and current projections indicate that this may continue to be a significantly challenging summer for wildfires in parts of the country, the ministry said in a press release. According to the ministry, most recent projections indicate a continued potential for higher-than-normal fire activity across most of the country throughout the 2023 wildland fire season. This is due to long-range forecasts for warm temperatures and ongoing drought, which are affecting parts of all provinces and territories and intensifying in some regions. For July, warm and dry conditions will increase wildfire risk from British Columbia and Yukon through to western Labrador. During August, the area at risk will stretch from British Columbia through western Quebec, the release said. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre said Thursday there were 649 active wildfires nationwide and the number of out-of-control wildfires was 353. The number of wildfires in the country so far this year reached 3,430, devouring about 88,000 square kilometres of land. The government has already taken key steps to respond to the 2023 wildfire season, such as making additional investments to train more firefighters and provide support to provinces and territories on equipment and deploying Canadian Armed Forces personnel and capabilities, the release said. Natural Resources Canada also announced two new steps to strengthen Canada's response to the wildfires including the upgrading of a National Fire Equipment Cache in Banff National Park to act as a central equipment repository for Parks Canada and augment local equipment reserves in national parks across the country. Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said in the release that coupled with long-term investments in wildfire fighting as well as climate mitigation and adaptation, Canada will address the root cause of these intensified fires: climate change. Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said that from personal losses and evacuation orders to poor air quality Canadians right across the country have felt the impacts of this challenging wildfire season. According to local media, more Canadians have been evacuated from their homes this year than in the last four decades, with more than 155,000 forced to leave due to fire and smoke. Blair said the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre is coordinating international deployments. Canada now has seven international arrangements with partner countries to ensure mutual assistance in the face of intensified wildfires, including resources, information and knowledge sharing.