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Wildfire roundup: What you need to know about blazes burning across Canada

Quebecers are returning home as the province goes on the offensive against a record wildfire season, but elsewhere gusty winds are fuelling a huge blaze in northeastern British Columbia. Here’s a look at developments Monday:

Many Quebec fire evacuees heading home

Thousands of Quebecers who were forced from their homes by out-of-control wildfires are starting to return home as the situation improves.

Premier François Legault says there should be fewer than 4,000 evacuees remaining by the end of the day, down from a peak of more than 13,500 Friday.  

Legault says there are now more than 1,200 people fighting fires across the province, including reinforcements from New Brunswick and France.

Quebec has been having a record wildfire season with 449 fires to date, including 130 currently burning.

Winds fan northeast B.C. wildfire

Gusty winds have kicked up a huge wildfire in northeastern British Columbia, forcing evacuation orders for remote properties outside Fort Nelson.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says more than 140 people are working to contain the lightning-caused Donnie Creek blaze and the 4,049-square-kilometre fire is now the second-largest ever recorded in the province.

But the fire service says the winds responsible for increasing that blaze have also aided firefighters battling a fire south of Fort St. John that prompted an evacuation of Tumbler Ridge. 

Gusts kept the nearly 200-square-kilometre West Kiskatinaw River fire away from the threatened community of 2,400, although the evacuation order remains posted.

More than 80 wildfires are burning around B.C., including a stubborn fire in steep terrain above Highway 4 on Vancouver Island, forcing the continued closure of the main route to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.

A convoy of supply trucks carried gas, food and other items into the region Sunday over the rough, four-hour detour that has provided essential access to the Island’s west coast since the human-caused wildfire began.

Number of active wildfires increases in northern Ontario

The number of active wildfires in northern Ontario continues to grow. 

There are 67 active wildfires in northern Ontario today including 28 in the northeast and 39 in the northwest.

There were 62 active wildfires yesterday.

All of the 14 new fires in the last 24 hours began in northwestern Ontario, where there are 12 fires not yet under control.

Nova Scotia firefighters using helicopters to locate hot spots

Nova Scotia firefighters are using helicopters to scan a massive wildfire that’s still out of control in Shelburne County to find the best spots to battle the blaze.

Officials with the province’s Department of Natural Resources will be flying over the fire in southwest Nova Scotia this week and using infrared scanners to detect areas where firefighters should be dispatched.

The 235-square-kilometre Barrington Lake wildfire in Shelburne County is no longer growing but is still classified as out of control.

The wildfire has forced more than 6,000 people from their homes and destroyed 60 houses and cottages, as well as 150 other structures.

The province says there are 139 firefighters from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and the United States fighting the flames. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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