Canada : Forest fires threaten infrastructure and evacuations continue

Canada : Forest fires threaten infrastructure and evacuations continue

Hundreds of fires raging in Canada's forests since the days of the country's infrastructure have threatened, while thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, amid continued attempts by firefighters to control and extinguish the fires.

Hundreds of out-of-control wildfires are raging across Canada, threatening basic infrastructure and forcing residents to evacuate their homes, while billowing smoke has spread over American cities.

Wildfires are common in Canada's western territories, but this year the fires spread so quickly in the east of the country, making it the worst start to the fire season ever.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said some 9.4 million acres had already burned, almost 15 times more than the 10-year average.

"There are 414 fires burning across the country to date, 239 of which are classified as out of control," he said in a press briefing on Wednesday. The province of Great Eastern Quebec is one of the hardest hit provinces.

"We've seen continued repercussions on critical infrastructure in Quebec, such as road closures, rural areas, communications outages, and the threat of high-voltage power lines from the growing fires," Blair said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with US President Joe Biden by phone on Wednesday to thank him for his "important support" in fighting the fires.

Hundreds of American firefighters have arrived in Canada and more are on their way.

And beyond the borders, air quality warnings were issued in more than a dozen US states on Wednesday as smoke from wildfires in Canada spread south.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said about 520 firefighters were battling the flames.

He said he hoped another 500 would arrive in the next few days from neighboring New Brunswick, as well as from France, the United States, Portugal, Spain and Mexico.

He added that about 11,400 people had been evacuated so far from remote areas in northern Quebec, and another 4,000 would be evacuated soon.
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