Canada wildfire smoke chokes millions in North America

As of Wednesday, more than eight million hectares (20 million acres) of forests and grasslands had burned across Canada, breaking an annual record of 7.3 million hectares set in 1989.

And Canada has yet to reach the peak of the fire season, which is usually in July or August.

“We have a fire in northern Quebec which currently covers 700,000 hectares, for example. It’s hard to fathom just how big it is,” said Yan Boulanger, a fire specialist for the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources.

Hundreds of forest fires since early May have generated nearly 600 million tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 88 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions from all sources in 2021, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reported.

A deep orange-brown sun shined through hazy skies as smoke from Canadian wildfires spread across North America and beyond, choking millions of people and triggering severe air quality alerts.