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Wild fires in the West Coast


August 7, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Following the seasonal trend and the continuing dry conditions in many areas, several communities in Canada’s West…

Following the seasonal trend and the continuing dry conditions in many areas, several communities in Canada’s West Coast were evacuated as the worst forest fire in 50 years continue to spread with maximum ferocity.

Canada moved to Level 5 in August as the number of fires currently burning (453) is at its highest level ever this season.
Nationally, 19 aircraft, 365 defence personnel, 270 pumps and 194 km of hose have been mobilized by the government to battle the inferno mainly in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. Professional and volunteer firefighters number in the thousands, with over 2,000 in BC alone. This is above average for this time of the year and the second highest level for this season. The United States has also suffered but has just dropped to Level 4, indicating an improvement in the situation.

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Almost 60% of new fires is caused by lightning. As of August 7, there are 18 out of control fires in six provinces/territories — Alberta, Northwest Territories and Ontario (4 each), Manitoba (3), Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

The fire danger continues to escalate in the western parts of Canada, levels have also increase somewhat in the Maritimes Provinces, most notably Nova Scotia. The area of highest fire danger continues to be southern BC/southwestern Alberta across Saskatchewan into Manitoba. There is also pressure from northern Washington State along the BC border. The levels have increased in the Territories. The weekly hot spot activity was double the average. The area of smoke continues to be well above average.


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