Canadian wildfires are so bad you can see them from space

Dry weather, lightning strikes and man-made causes are said to have contributed towards the worst natural fires in decades

Rachael Pells
Friday 04 August 2017 15:29
138 ‘extraordinary’ wildfires spread in Canada

Wildfires in western Canada have created so much smoke, the disaster can be seen from space.

British Columbia has suffered the worst of the damage, with more than 860 wildfires this summer, of which at least 138 are still said to be burning.

An estimated 4,910 square kilometres have burned to the ground since the beginning of April, according to Canadian news sources, making this summer the worst for wildfire destruction in 60 years.

Latest images taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite this week reveal vast areas of the country covered with a thick body of smoke, moving steadily south across Vancouver Island.

Environment Canada issued warnings of high air pollution levels and an incoming heat wave expected to last over the weekend.

Images taken by NASA's Aqua satellite reveal the extent of smoke pollution in western Canada as a result of the fires

Thousands of people have been evacuated from the territory over the past few weeks, and British Columbian officials declared a state of emergency.

On Friday it was announced New Zealand firefighters would be flown out to Canada to join Australian forces already in the process of bolstering Canadian emergency services.

New Zealand Fire and Emergency manager Kevin O'Connor said his contingent would be stationed in British Columbia.

He said the deployment was in response to a formal request from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre earlier this week.

“Canada is close to exhausting all available wildfire management resources within their country,” he told the New Zealand Herald. “To help provide ongoing relief, New Zealand is sending a team of firefighters and operational personnel to provide frontline and incident management support to local firefighters.”

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