Scores of wildfires are burning across the Western Canadian wilderness, with more than 2 million hectares of woodland currently burning. 1,400 soldiers have been called into Saskatchewan alone, to relieve the 600 exhausted firefighters that have been battling the province-wide blazes. While fatalities are rare in instances such as this, one firefighter in British Columbia has been killed.
The resulting community evacuations are on a historic scale: the Red Cross in Saskatchewan hasn’t seen an evacuation of this scale in their history, of which has involved over 10,000 people in 50 communities. The refugees have been scattered across Saskatchewan and Alberta, now housed in community and recreation centers across the two provinces.
While wildfires are an annual occurrence in Canada’s wilderness, the current situation is being exacerbated by the hot, dry weather that has gripped the western portion of the continent for the past few years. B.C. communities have petitioned local authorities to re-activate water-bombers that were recently retired and replaced, to help bolster the ones currently in service. While the majority of fire have been sparked by the usual lightning strikes and careless campfire usage, authorities suspect arson as the start of one of the fires.