By Editor-June 8th, 2023.
Wildfires have set fire to millions of acres in Canada so far in 2023. The fires have forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate, destroyed homes and businesses and caused firefighters to work around the clock. AccuWeather forecasters warn that this unprecedented wildfire season has only just begun.
Canada’s wildfire season, which typically runs from May through September, got off to a devastating start very early this year.
Wildfires scorched sweeping swaths of western Canada, including the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan last month. A dramatic video from May 3 showed normally blue skies set into an orange blaze in Alberta as towering plumes of wildfire smoke soared higher and higher.
In Alberta, the entire province underwent a month-long provincial state of emergency due to the scope and out-of-control nature of May’s wildfires. The provincial state of emergency expired just last week, according to CTV News.
Currently, some of the worst fires in the nation are raging across large portions of Quebec. More than 100 fires are considered to be out-of-control across the province, according to the CBC.
“This is a scary time for a lot of people from coast to coast to coast,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday.
So far in 2023, Canadian wildfires have been equal parts wide-reaching and devastating. As of May 31, wildfires in Canada had already burned a total amount of more than 1.3 million acres above the 40-year historical average pace for an entire season.
Huge swaths of western Canada continue to battle drought conditions, which have made the area more vulnerable to wildfire initiation and spread.
In and around the areas closest to Quebec’s ongoing blazes, air quality levels have plummeted. Folks in large portions of Quebec are experiencing air quality levels that range from poor to dangerous.
Worsening air quality levels can make it difficult for anyone to breathe or move around outdoors, especially young children, the elderly or anyone with respiratory concerns. The haze from the fires in Canada is now affecting much of the US northeast.