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Battle to Contain Canadian Wildfires Intensifies as 16,000 Evacuate

Smoke from the fires billows from homes near Bedford, May 28, 2023. PHOTO BY ERIC MARTYN/REUTERS

Residents of Nova Scotia in Canada are facing record-breaking heat and dealing with raging wildfires that have already scorched 10,000 hectares, forcing more than 16,000 people to evacuate their homes and prompting a burning ban.

The fires have already destroyed more than 200 homes or structures, and the Halifax Township estimates that around 16,429 people have been evacuated due to the danger posed by the flames. On Monday, Nova Scotia Provincial Premier Tim Houston announced that every household that has to evacuate would receive $500 in assistance from the Canadian Red Cross to help cover urgent needs like food and personal care items.

In response to the ongoing crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has come forward with an offer of federal support and assistance, and said in a tweet that he was ‚Äúthankful to those who are working hard to keep people safe.‚ÄĚ However, he added that ‚Äúthese fires are incredibly serious.

To make matters worse, a wildfire burning in the Westwood Hills and Tantallon areas of Nova Scotia is ‚Äúout of control,‚ÄĚ according to statements released Monday. The fire spreads over some 1,947 hectares, and with 16,000 people evacuated and more high temperatures predicted, authorities must take swift action in order to contain what they are calling the worst fire season in decades.