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Here's how some of Canada's wildfires compare in size to cities, lakes

Canada's 2023 fire season is on track to be one of the worst in the country's history.

More than 440 fires are burning across the country, forcing people from their homes and others to stay inside due to wildfire smoke pollution.

Fires stretch thousands of hectares in provinces like B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories. Charred earth and burnt forests are left behind in the path of the blazes as fire crews tirelessly work to contain the flames.

To date, 3.8 million hectares of land have been burned or is under fire as of June 7, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said at a press conference. This is a bit larger than the Northwest Territories’ Great Bear Lake – the largest lake in Canada and eighth largest on Earth.

Fires have burned 3.8 million hectares, which is about the same size as Great Bear Lake in N.W.T. (Screenshot Google Maps)

Fires in Canada are measured in hectares a unit larger than acres but smaller than kilometres. However, understanding just how large a wildfire is can be difficult to picture. has taken wildfires across the country and compared them to cities or bodies of water showcasing just how large the fire is. analyzed wildfires deemed out of control, while fires under 1,000 hectares were not considered.


As of June 8, there were 82 active wildfires burning in B.C., of which the largest are burning uncontrolled.

In the northern part of the province past Fort St John, the Donnie Creek wildfire is ablaze. This is being called one of the largest fires in the province's history and has burned an estimated 310,805 hectares since May 12.

Here is what the Donnie Creek fire looks like over top of different places in Canada for scale.

A bit north, situated on the border between B.C. andAlberta, the Tooga Creek fire continues to burn. Although crews have held (likely to not spread further) one area, most of the blaze is burning out of control.

On June 7 the fire was roughly 16, 280 hectares. Below is a comparison for the Tooga Creek fire with Vancouver.


There are 12 wildfires actively burning in the N.W.T., while a number have been extinguished, according to the territorial fire map.

One fire is located on the border of B.C. and N.W.T., but B.C.'s map shows the majority of the fire is located in the territory. The fire was discovered on May 13 and since then has grown to an estimated 249,077 hectares, according to data from N.W.T.

A separate fire located near Dogface Lake is also burning out of control as of June 5. Officials estimated the blaze is about 108,203 hectares in size which is eight times the size of Yellowknife.


Alberta is usually the epicentre of wildfire stories as dry air persists in the province throughout the year.

Near the end of April fires started burning in the northern areas of the province, which prompted early evacuations for some communities.

As of June 8, the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard reported 73 active fires of which 30 per cent are deemed out of control.

One of the largest fires currently burning is in the Rainbow Lake community, northwest in the province. Early on residents were told to evacuate due to the blaze and after a month were allowed to return home.

It has grown to more than 155,000 hectares which is about 2.2 times the size of Edmonton.

A separate fire located just southeast of the Peace River community has burned an estimated 126,195 hectares which is a little bigger than Lesser Slave Lake, located just south of the fire.


Some of the largest fires in the country are burning in the northern parts of Saskatchewan.

One fire located in the nort of the Haultain River, east of Highway 155 has grown to about 377,126 hectares, this is about two and a half times bigger than Lac La Ronge.

Fire burning in Saskatchewan is of similar size to a lake. (Screenshot Google Maps)

As of June 8 there are 30 active wildfires, a regularly updated map from the province shows, with seven deemed "not contained." To date, there have been 206 wildfires in Saskatchewan.

Wildfires are disrupting many communities in the province and a fire burning in the Buffalo Narrows area forced residents from their homes.

Located in the northwest of the province communities around the area left on May 15, however, one man went the opposite direction to defend his family cabin.

Martin Morin told CTV Saskatchewan he wishes the province would have fought the fire more aggressively before it spread.

Now the fire has grown to 180,413 hectares which is about 10 times the size of Regina.


Dry hot conditions continue eastward into Ontario where provincial data shows there have been 167 fires so far in 2023, double the fires this time last year.

An aggressive fire burning through Opasquia Provincial Park in the northwest of the province has grown to 12,742 hectares, which is larger than the City of Barrie.

Open-air fire restrictions stretch from Kenora to Pembroke as fire crews continue to battle the more than 50 fires across the province. A community west of Sudbury has evacuated the area due to a fast-growing fire.

Smoke from these fires and across the country blanketed the nation's capital on Tuesday, prompting air quality advisories for most of eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area.

Another large fire in the province's northwest corner near Cat Lake in the Sioux Lookout district has grown to 9,285 hectares, which is about 1.5 times bigger than the City of Peterborough.


Wildfires grew quickly over the last few weeks in the province of Quebec, where as of June 8 there are 136 active fires.

A map from the province's fire agency shows fire numbers this year has doubled the 10-year average and burned 639,600 hectares of land which is roughly six times the size of Lac Saint-Jean.

Quebec's wildfires have burned the same land as the size of Lac Saint-Jean. (Screenshot Google Maps)

A fire burning south of the Chapais Jamésie Region has grown to 34,500 hectares which is roughly the size of Trois-Rivières, Que.

Wildfires are "worrying" to provincial officials who said Tuesday fire crews are now trying to battle blazes in the northwest. The province is only able to fight about 30 fires at a time due to the lack of crews, Premier Francois Legault said.

A fire near the City of Val-d'Or in Quebec's Abitibi-Témiscamingue region prompted evacuations of several areas last week.

The fire burning east of the community has grown to 18,144 hectares as of June 8, which is just over half the size of Laval, Que.


The largest fire in Nova Scotian history is being held by firefighters, a map from the province shows on June 8.

The blaze which burned just under 25,000 hectares started May 27 and prompted widespread evacuations from the southern part of N.S. Officials believe if the weather permits the fire should not grow further.

The blaze is about two and a half times the size of the City of Halifax. 


Map visuals by Jesse Tahirali/ Top Stories


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