STORY: The raging wildfires in western Canada have wiped out more than two million acres of land in Alberta, an area about half the size of Lake Ontario.
It’s a grim toll from what’s turning out to be one of the area’s worst wildfire seasons on record, triggered by record-high temperatures and low rainfall.
Alberta Wildfire official Christie Tucker said on Tuesday help will soon arrive from Australia and New Zealand firefighters, set to join a few thousand already fighting the blaze.
"There are 1,123 firefighters from across Canada and the United States assisting nearly 1,700 from Alberta wildfire on these fires. We're working closely with the municipal fire departments who are also protecting their own communities. Even though we have made headway on many wildfires on the landscape, we know that the season is far from over. We need to be prepared.”
Officials say the province will remain on high alert despite rainfall and cooler temperatures offering some relief.
“We’re hoping the weather continues to assist in the fight against these wildfires. Alberta continues to be under a provincial state of emergency. And the Provincial Emergency Coordination Center remains at a level four."
The widespread fires were sparked by high heat and a lack of rain in Alberta this year, forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes.
According to Alberta’s wildfire information unit, the damage so far is already a several thousand-fold increase from last year.