As of June 6, 2023, there are 413 active wildfires burning across Canada. Of these, 249 are considered to be out of control. The fires have forced more than 26,000 people to evacuate their homes and have caused significant damage to property and infrastructure.
The majority of the fires are burning in the western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The fires are being fueled by dry conditions and hot weather. The Canadian Wildfire Service is working to contain the fires, but it is a challenging task.
The smoke from the fires is also causing air quality problems in some areas. The smoke has drifted as far as the Midwest and Northeast United States, where it is causing hazy skies and poor air quality.
The Canadian government has declared a state of emergency in response to the wildfires. The government is providing financial assistance to those who have been affected by the fires and is working to coordinate the response of different agencies.
The wildfires are a reminder of the dangers of climate change. The fires are more intense and widespread than they have been in the past. Climate change is causing the Earth to warm, which is leading to drier conditions and more extreme weather events.
The Canadian government is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. However, it is a long-term challenge and it is important to be prepared for the next wildfire season.
Tips for staying safe during a wildfire:
Stay informed about the fire situation in your area. You can get information from local news sources, the Canadian Wildfire Service, or your local emergency management office.
Have a plan in place in case you need to evacuate. This plan should include a safe place to go, a way to get there, and a way to stay in touch with family and friends.
Be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. This means having your bags packed and ready to go, and knowing where to meet your family and friends.
If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not wait until the last minute.
Do not drive through a burning area. The smoke and flames can make it difficult to see and drive safely.
If you are caught in a fire, find a safe place to shelter. This could be a building, a ditch, or a clear area away from trees and other flammable materials.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth to protect yourself from the smoke.
Stay calm and do not panic. The most important thing is to stay safe.
Image creditNASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons