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Here's a look at what's happened in Canada's record-breaking wildfire season so far


Canada is now halfway through its record-breaking wildfire season, which has seen more land than ever burned, the highest number of evacuations in a given year and several casualties.

Almost every province and territory in Canada has dealt with the forest fires that have displaced communities and touched Canadians from coast to coast with smoke and ash.

This year’s wildfire season is the worst Canada has ever seen and there are still months of blazes expected ahead — the season typically lasts from May through to the end of September.

Here's a look at what this year’s wildfire season has been like so far.


At the beginning of May, more than 819 wildfires were burning in Canada, the majority of which were in Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) statistics show.

Temperatures in the two provinces were high, increasing the fire risk for communities, particularly in the northern regions.

Alberta declared a state of emergency on May 6 as thousands of hectares went up in flames and 29,000 people were left displaced.

B.C.'s fires were already breaking records by May 8. At that point, the province had reported 131 fires since January, which is a little higher than the 10-year average.

As fires grew, several communities were forced to evacuate, including the East Prairie Metis Settlement, one of several Indigenous communities hit hard by the wildfires. More than 155,000 people forced to evacuate their homes due to fire and smoke so far, the highest number of

evacuations in a given year compared to the past four decades.

By mid-May, Environment Canada had issued wildfire smoke advisories as a smoky haze blanketed the majority of the country, forcing many to stay inside. The federal department warned that smoke would be particularly harmful to young children, older adults and people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma.

Officials started calling the wildfires "unprecedented" as fire crews — many of which are volunteer-based — headed to the western provinces to help.

By May 17, photos from across Canada and the U.S. showcased hazy skies from fires burning in B.C., Yukon, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.


The Barrington Lake wildfire that wreaked havoc in Nova Scotia was declared under control by early June. The nearly 25,000-hectare fire — or 250 square kilometres — destroyed 150 structures and became the largest forest fire in the province's history.

Around this time, Quebec fires were quickly burning out of control, sparking concern and polluting neighbouring areas. Satellite images show smoke from Quebec drifting to the U.S., causing orange hazy skies in New York City and lowering air quality.

By early June, officials said they believed this year's fire season could be the worst in Canadian history.

Firefighters from the European Union arrived in Canada to assist crews in Quebec. More crews from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and South Africa came to support.

By mid-June, the CIFFC reported over 2,000 fires burning across the country, which prompted Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair to announce the grim milestone, declaring this season as the worst in the 21st century.

A forecast showed the fire risk remained well above average in parts of every province and territory except Newfoundland and Labrador.

More than one in four Canadians told Leger, a polling firm, that they have been impacted by the record-setting wildfires. Three in four said they think there are more fires now than in the past.

On June 27, Canada surpassed its known historic record for total area burned by wildfires in one season. About 8.8 million hectares — or 88,000 square kilometres — burned, nearly 11 times the 10-year average.

The previous record was set in 1989, when 7.6 million hectares — or 76,000 square kilometres — of area was reported burned.

The 10-year average is 805,196 hectares — or 8,051.96 square kilometres — burned.


By Canada Day, poor air quality and the risk of wildfires prompted many cities to ban fireworks.

High temperatures continued to bring heat waves across the country for the rest of the month. The lack of rain also fuelled fire conditions, government officials said.

A nine-year-old B.C. boy died from asthma exacerbated by wildfire smoke, his family told CTV News.

On July 16, the country hit an unprecedented milestone: 10 million hectares of land — or 100,00 square kilometres — burned. This is just under the size of the island of Newfoundland, not including Labrador.

The average area burned in a wildfire season is around 2.1 million hectares — or 21,000 square kilometres — with about 8,000 fires.

While the area burned this year is five times higher than the average, there have been roughly half the number of fires so far.

By the end of July, there were reports of people dying while battling the flames. Adam Yeadon, 25, Devyn Gale, 19, and a 41-year-old helicopter pilot assisting in firefighting efforts died on the job.


Currently, there are 1,148 active fires in Canada, with 13.3 million hectares hectares — or 133,000 square kilometres — burned to date.

The majority of fires are burning in B.C. and the N.W.T., the latest data from the CIFFC's dashboard shows.

Canada has surpassed the total number of fires seen in 2022. As of Wednesday, there were 5,550 fires that have burned in Canada Top Stories

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