See fiery scenes in Canada — over 150 wildfires — blanketing parts of the US in smoke

Across parts of the eastern U.S., many people are waking up to air quality alerts and orange sunrises. The heavy smoke comes from hundreds of wildfires in Canada, with more than 150 in Quebec alone.

Wildfire season in Canada started with “high-than-normal fire activity across most of the country,” the government said in a June 5 news release. “Warm and dry conditions” increased the risk of fires across much of the country.

More than 350 wildfires were burning on June 7 — over 251 are not under control, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. The largest number of fires were raging in Quebec and Ontario. Along the west coast, the wildfires were concentrated in British Columbia and Alberta.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented amount of fire for this early in the season,” Mike Norton of the Canadian Forest Service told the Montreal Gazette.

A photo shows a firefighter in British Columbia battling a grass fire. Smaller flames lick the ground as smoke fills the air.

A firefighter fights a grass fire in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Monday, June 5, 2023.

In Quebec, more than 150 wildfires are raging, according to the province’s wildfire agency SOPFEU.

“It is historical,” SOPFEU spokesperson Karine Pelletier said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “We have never seen that number of fires at the same time.”

Quebec can only battle about 30 forest fires at once, the Montreal Gazette reported.

A compilation of videos shared June 2 by The Weather Network on Twitter shows some of the fiery scenes. One video shows vibrant orange flames stretching above the treeline. One larger fire in Sept-Îles prompted mass evacuations, the outlet reported.

The smoke from Quebec and Ontario has blanketed Ottawa and Montréal as well as parts of the U.S. from New York to Minnesota to North Carolina, NPR reported. Air quality alerts and warnings have been issued for some areas.

Photos and videos shared on Facebook show the orange-tinted skies and thick haze over Ottawa, the capital city.

Ottawa had the worst air quality of all large Canadian cities on June 7, according to officials. Air quality in the nearby cities of Montréal and Toronto was not as bad but still a “high risk” to people’s health.

Ottawa on May 20th vs today, June 6th I’ve never experienced anything like this… Mathieu Villeneuve

Posted by Natalie Richer on Tuesday, June 6, 2023

“We are already seeing one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, and we must prepare for a long summer,” Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault said in the release.

Climate change has increased the frequency, duration and intensity of extreme weather events, including forest fires, Canadian officials said.

Officials expect rains later this week “will help suppress the fires,” NPR reported.

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