Forest fires in Saskatchewan: 13 000 evacuees, military reinforcement

foyers-incendie-ete-declaresMajor forest fires and brush in western Canada have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and sent on Monday, soldiers as reinforcements.

Approximately 1,400 soldiers will integrate “a wrestling team against fire, which will include a full logistical support to help fight forest fires” of the province of Saskatchewan, said the Ministry of Defence.

An unusual drought and temperatures above normal across the western half of Canada has triggered several fires.

In total 110 fires, including 24 totally out of control, ravaging the province, according to the latest balance sheet prepared on Sunday night by the local government.

By comparison, 565 fires were reported this year, three times more than the same time last year.

For over a week, residents were evacuated from the highest risk areas in the northern half of Saskatchewan.

In total, about 13 000 people were displaced, 5,000 were accommodated in the neighboring province of Alberta, according to local authorities.

In British Columbia, an alert bulletin on air quality has been issued by the City of Vancouver because of “the high concentration of fine particles caused by fire smoke in the area.”

People with chronic respiratory problems, the elderly or the children are invited to “stay inside and in air-conditioned spaces (to) reduce exposure to fine particles,” said the city.

In this province on the Pacific coast, fires are also more likely this year. According to firefighters, about 70 fires were still active Monday in British Columbia.

The Ministry of Defence said that before “to send armed forces to fight forest fires,” they were to receive a quick training, and deployment is expected to last the week.

These reinforcements will be maintained “until the provincial authorities to take the situation in hand,” the ministry said.

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