Canada burns: more than 160,000 hectares lost



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Canada burns: more than 160,000 hectares lost

Extensive and severe wildfires are burning Canada. According to data from the Quebec Fire Prevention Agency, more than 160,000 hectares of land have burned, a larger area than the average area affected by fires this season, which is approximately 247 hectares.

The cloud of smoke and ash extended as far as New York, and was photographed by satellites. The cause would be in the high temperatures and drought conditions that have been recorded in the Quebec region, the most affected province of eastern Canada.

Shortly after the fires started, more than 20,000 residents were evacuated. The smoke has raised many air quality alarms, considering that on June 4, the air quality index for particulate matter PM 2.5 was classified as unhealthy in several areas of Canada and the same happened in the recent days also in large areas of the North-Eastern United States, from New York to South Carolina.

More than 150 fires are active in Quebec and more than 200 across the country are out of control. Early June saw dozens of new unusually intense fires ignite, some caused by lightning. On June 3, the smoke rising from the various outbreaks was photographed by NASA's Aqua satellite, a satellite launched in 2002 that orbits the Earth to study rainfall, evaporation and the water cycle.

In response to Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage's call for help, the federal government urgently sent members of the Canadian military, firefighters, helicopters and trucks, while a hundred firefighters from the United States but also from Costa Rica should lend a hand this weekend to local teams.

Another two hundred firefighters from South Africa could be sent to Alberta, still plagued by fires, thus joining the hundreds of firefighters from around the world, including Australia and New Zealand already on site. Because since the beginning of spring, the entire Canadian territory has been set on fire.

The West first to Alberta in early May, whose giant hearths spilled over to the neighboring provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, then the North, to the Northwest Territories. In the heart of the country, then, with Manitoba and Ontario, and finally, since last week, in the east, on the Atlantic side of Canada, where fires have broken out in the maritime provinces of the country, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.