Canadian officials said Saturday that wildfires could intensify and last all summer, bringing heavy smoke across the U.S. through September.
At least 435 wildfires were burning in Canada as of Sunday, with tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders, according to Axios. Nearly 17,800 acres have burned thus far in 2023, and many towns continue to be threatened by the ongoing infernos, almost half of which are still considered out of control, NDTV noted.
“This is a first in the history of Quebec to fight so many fires, to evacuate so many people,” Quebec Minister of Public Security Francois Bonnardel said on Saturday. “We are going to have a fight that we think will last all summer … we haven’t yet won the battle.”
— KAY SMYTHE (@KaySmythe) June 7, 2023
Hazardous levels of smoke struck much of the northeastern U.S. through early June. Although levels dropped over the weekend, much of the country should brace for ongoing air quality issues as Canada struggles to combat the ongoing crisis.
“The fire is so out of control that some forestry crews have had to back off,” Yellowhead County chief administrative officer Luc Mercier said of a wildfire burning near the town of Edson. “They can’t fight this fire.” (RELATED: US Officials Issue Major Warning Ahead Of El Niño)
The extreme outbreak is said to be fueled by warm and dry conditions, as well as ongoing droughts throughout Canada. Wildfire potential in July is expected to expand into additional regions, prompting a “whole-of-government approach to supporting communities” impacted by the devastation, according to Natural Resources Canada.