OTTAWA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- An area equal to over 5 million football fields has been burned by wildfires in Canada so far this year, Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said on Thursday.
Wildfires have devoured about 27,000 square kilometres of land this year, and the national 10-year average is about 500 square kilometres, Blair told reporters at a press conference, updating the current situation of the wildfire season which has seen tens of thousands of people flee their homes.
"These conditions, this early in the season, are deeply concerning," said Blair.
He said that Canada is facing a dangerous situation and that due to climate change, similar extreme weather events may continue to increase in both frequency and severity across the country.
According to the update in the press conference, there are now 211 active wildfires burning across the country on Thursday and 82 of those are out of control. A total of 1,826 wildfires have burned in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories.
Blair also confirmed that Nova Scotia is the second province to receive federal assistance for wildfires this year after Alberta.
The federal government approved the province's request for federal assistance for support with wildfire response efforts, including Canadian forces personnel and resources, he said.
In a news release issued on Thursday, the Canadian government said the donation matching program with the government of Alberta and the Canadian Red Cross has already raised approximately 20 million Canadian dollars (15 million U.S. dollars) to support Canadians who have been impacted by wildfires in the province.
The Canadian government will be establishing similar matching programs with Nova Scotia through the Canadian Red Cross and with the Northwest Territories through United Way, the release said.