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

Ottawa July 20 (BNA): Canada’s worst wildfire season has choked much of North America in dangerous smoke for months, along with deadly heat around the world in summer that focuses the world’s attention on the dangers of climate change.

By this week, about 42,000 square miles (109,000 square km) had burned an area roughly equivalent to the US state of Virginia. There were about 900 fires actively burning, with only a fifth considered to be under control.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that aerial views gave a glimpse of the fires’ path at times across Canada’s rugged terrain, with thousands of black trees near green stands untouched by the flames.

Wildfires disproportionately affect Indigenous communities in Canada, who make up a much larger proportion of evacuees than their share of the population. This includes members of the East Prairie Métis settlement in northern Alberta, where 14 homes were destroyed in a fire in early May and nearly 300 people evacuated.

Some on the front lines found time to rejoice amid the hard work of fighting the flames. South African fire crews lightened the mood on the ground and on social media with dancing, singing and cheering before going to work in the jungle. It’s the fifth year that the men and women of the Wildland Fire Agency of Canada have been helping out in Canada.

Humans are not the only creatures affected by fire. Wildebeest are often displaced as well, though it wasn’t clear if this was the case for a bear making its way through the unburned forests of British Columbia, just a few miles from the Donnie Creek wildfire.

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