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Canada’s wildfires blacken thousands of square miles, upend lives | AP News

Canada’s wildfires blacken thousands of square miles, upend lives | AP News

Canada’s worst-ever wildfire season has choked much of North America with dangerous smoke for months, coupling with deadly heat around the globe in a summer that’s focusing the world’s attention on the perils of climate change.

By this week, some 42,000 square miles (109,000 square kilometers) had burned — an area roughly equivalent to the U.S. state of Virginia. About 900 fires were actively burning, with only about one-fifth considered under control.

Aerial views gave a glimpse of the fire’s sometimes hopscotching path across Canada’s rugged terrain — thousands of blackened trees near green stands as yet untouched by flame.

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The intense heat hitting much of the globe this summer is continuing. As southern Europe bakes under a heat wave, firefighters in Greece are getting some help from other countries in battling wildfires near Athens that have caused evacuations for several days.

The worst wildfire season in Canadian history is displacing Indigenous communities from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, blanketing them in thick smoke, destroying homes and forests.

Firefighting aircraft and ground crews from several other countries are heading to Greece as wildfires intensify during a relentless heat wave.

The fires are responsible for at least two deaths in the province and, combined with a severe drought, will impact farmers and cattle producers.

The wildfires are disproportionately affecting Canada’s Indigenous communities, who make up a much larger share of evacuees than their share of the population. That includes members of the East Prairie Métis Settlement in northern Alberta, where 14 homes were destroyed in an early May fire and almost 300 people were evacuated.

Some on the front lines found time for joy amidst the hard work of fighting the flames. Fire crews from South Africa lightened the mood on the ground and on social media by dancing, singing and chanting before going to work in the woods. It’s the fifth year that men and women from that nation’s wildland fire agency have helped out in Canada.

Humans aren’t the only creatures affected by fire. Wild animals are often displaced as well, though it wasn’t clear whether that was the case for a bear nosing its way through unburned woods in British Columbia, a few miles from the massive Donnie Creek fire.


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