Canadian wildfires so far this year have burned 10 million hectares of land and counting, data from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre shows.
The stark milestone comes as the nation deals with its worst wildfire season on record, which historically runs between April and September.
The previous record was set in 1989, when 7.6 million hectares were burned.
Officials have warned that in many parts of the country, fire seasons are starting earlier and are becoming longer. Earlier this month, government officials said Canada’s fire season is still far from over, with projections showing potential for higher-than-normal fire activity right across the country throughout the month and into August.
Conditions are being driven by drought and above-normal temperatures, officials said in a presentation to reporters on July 6. Fires are burning across the nation, which is also unprecedented, they added.
Canada’s wildfire season has gotten so dire that the country needs an “unprecedented level of international support” to fight them.
“The firefighting effort has now truly become a global effort,” officials said during the presentation.
The government has signed several agreements with nations on wildfire assistance, and recently inked resource-sharing deals with Portugal and the United States.
Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair told reporters on July 6 that much of Canada will remain at high risk for wildfires throughout July, though in August the risk to some areas will decrease.
Blair did not have a figure to provide when it comes to the cost of the wildfire response.
“I want to encourage all Canadians in high-risk areas to look out for one another, to follow the guidance of your local authorities and stay prepared,” he said.
“While there is serious fire risk in several parts of the country, I want to assure Canadians that there are sufficient resources to respond and to keep Canadians safe.”
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