The Peterborough Examiner

South Africa, U.S. to help battle Canada’s raging wildfires


OTTAWA More than 300 firefighte­rs from the United States and South Africa are heading 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 year.

About 100 American firefighte­rs are set to arrive in Nova Scotia by Monday to help knock down outof-control wildfires that have destroyed at least 200 homes and cottages, officials said Thursday.

Another 200 firefighte­rs arriving from South Africa will likely end up in Alberta, though officials said the wildfire 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 about 27,000 square kilometres of land, Bill Blair, the federal minister of emergency preparedne­ss, told reporters. The national 10-year average is about 500 square kilometres, he said.

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

There were 211 wildfires burning across the country Thursday, and 82 of those were burning 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 hit by raging forest fires so far this year. The firefighte­rs arriving in the coming days from the United States and South Africa will be joining hundreds of their colleagues from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand who were already in Canada battling fires.

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