In eastern Canada, numerous forest fires have spiraled out of control. The province of Québec asked for international assistance to fight more than 160 fires. Normally, firefighters from other provinces would come to the rescue, said Quebec Prime Minister Francois Legault. But they have their hands full themselves.
According to Legault, Quebec has more than 480 wilderness-based firefighters. This staff is enough to fight about 30 fires. The government in Ottawa expects one of the worst fire seasons in Canada in the next few months. As of Friday afternoon, 324 fires were blazing across the country. On Monday morning there were already 413, and in the late afternoon the number rose again by 42. “The situation remains serious,” said Canada’s Minister for Disaster Management, Bill Blair.
According to official information, there have been no fatalities so far. Of the more than 160 reported fires in Quebec, at least 114 have gotten out of control. The Atlantic coast province of Nova Scotia, which has been struggling with forest fires in recent days, has released water bombers for use in Quebec. Legault announced that 200 firefighters would also come from France and the USA.
Premier Trudeau tries to calm down
Québec is also in talks with Costa Rica, Portugal and Chile, it said. About 10,000 people in Québec were displaced from their homes by the fires.
According to Legault, the fire department had to withdraw from the town of Clova, about 325 kilometers northwest of Montreal. “We are forced to let Clova burn.” The 36 residents of the community were evacuated.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassured that “with the given forecasts” it can be assumed “that we have enough resources” to survive the summer. “In the event that the situation worsens, we are developing contingency plans.”