Home » Europe Joins Fight Against Canada Wildfire Smoke
Europe Featured Global News News

Europe Joins Fight Against Canada Wildfire Smoke

European firefighters have joined in on the fight to put out hundreds of active wildfires in Canada, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said on Thursday.

“Canada has requested support from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism — and we are responding promptly,” von der Leyen said.

“France, Portugal and Spain are offering the help of more than 280 firefighters. More will come,” she added.

Spain, which battles wildfires each summer and is bracing for a difficult season amid a prolonged drought and record-hot spring, will send 80 to 100 firefighters to Canada.

Neighboring Portugal, which has a record of deadly fires as well, has pledged another 100 firefighters.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Thursday also directed authorities to respond to Canadian requests for help.

“I have directed the National Interagency Fire Center to respond promptly to Canadian requests for additional firefighters and fire suppression assets such as air tankers,” Biden said in statement.

Norway expects smoke from wildfires

Norwegian scientists said Thursday they expected smoke from the wildfires in Canada to travel into the country as well, though the air would not pose a danger to the health of the average Norwegian.

The smoke has moved over Greenland and Iceland since June 1st, scientists with the Norwegian Climate and Environmental Research Institute said.

Smoke from wildfires disrupt air travel, school close

The smoke from the wildfires in Canada has been drifting into the US for weeks, but the recent fires in the province of Quebec resulted in the harmful smog that is currently blanketing the eastern US, especially central New York Wednesday.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center reported Thursday that more than half of the 440 fires burning in nine provinces and two territories were out of control. 163 of those fires were in Quebec.  

Schools in the US states of New YorkNew Jersey and Pennsylvania have moved classes online or canceled after-school activities.

Air travel logged major delays and disruptions for a second day in a row, as more than 2,600 flights to, from and within the US were delayed as of Thursday afternoon, according to FlightAware.

Washington DC bumped up its air quality index to indicate worsening level of air quality, while the White House canceled an LGBTQ Pride event scheduled Thursday. The National Zoo in DC also closed their doors for the day.

The air quality slightly improved in New York Thursday, but winds could bring smoke back into the state, authorities warned.

According to an initial analysis by a team at Stanford’s Environmental Change and Human Outcomes Lab, as reported by the Verge, the average American witnessed their worst pollution levels from heavy wildfire smoke Wednesday.

Source : DW