Canada wildfire season starts better than feared--officials

Canada wildfire season starts better than feared–officials

/ 02:26 PM June 13, 2024

Canada wildfire season starts better than feared--officials

This handout image released by BC Wildfire Service shows smoke columns from the Truax Creek wildfire, Ontario, on May 12, 2024. FILE PHOTO/Agence France-Presse

OTTAWA — Canada’s 2024 wildfire season got off to a better start than feared with fewer fires and areas burned than average, but officials said Wednesday they are still braced for an uptick in activity.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan told a briefing that there are currently 69 wildfires burning across Canada and 500,000 hectares have so far been scorched.


“The good news is that the number of fires is well below average for this time of the year,” he said, adding that the total area burned “is also well below the 10-year average.”


READ: Blazes break out in western Canada as wildfire season begins

However, he warned that wildfire activity was increasing and several regions — notably parts of Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Quebec — are at “elevated risk” of fires due to hot, dry and windy conditions.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the month of June was likely to see “above normal fire activity across much of Canada” while the most intense activity is expected in western provinces and the Northwest Territories in July.

READ: Fire threat eases near Canada’s oil sands hub; long, hot summer looms

Forecasted rainstorms could reduce wildfire risks, but lightning could also spark new fires, officials said. Flash flooding could also stymie firefighting efforts.

Canada upped its fire prevention and mitigation efforts heading into the 2024 fire season, including training more firefighters, after the country’s worst-ever season last year saw blazes from coast to coast charring more than 15 million hectares of land.


In May, more than 11,000 people were forced to flee fires in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. Those evacuation orders have now been lifted.

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TAGS: Canada, wildfire

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