An area of land 11 times bigger than the city of Toronto burned from wildfires in the last four days — Canada’s worst spring wildfire season to date.
Another 389 fires were recorded since June 1, and as of Monday morning there were 413 active fires underway, with the risk having spread to more provinces over the weekend.
Nearly 250 of those were out of control in nine provinces and two territories.
Mike Norton, the director general of the Northern Forestry Centre at the Department of Natural Resources, said having this many fires from coast to coast at this time of year is not normal.
And the outlook for the rest of the season remains dire.
In June the risk is well above average in every province and territory except Newfoundland and Labrador, where the risk is a little lower but still above average.
Statistics compiled by the Canada Interagency Forest Fire Centre show more than 7,300 square kilometres of land burned in the last four days.
That is nearly three times the average amount that has normally burned in the first five months of the year.
The federal government stands with people across the country “who are enduring this painful, heartbreaking time,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference Monday.
Modelling shows that it might be an especially severe wildfire season throughout the summer, Trudeau said.
“We’re going to get through this together and our government will keep being there with whatever it takes to keep people safe and provide support,” he said.
“This is a scary time for a lot of people, not just in Alberta, but right across the country, including in the Atlantic, the North and Quebec, too.”