Worst start to wildfire season on record as fires burn in multiple provinces

Worst spring fire season

UPDATE: 9:20 a.m.

An area of land 11 times bigger than the city of Toronto burned from wildfires in the past four days — Canada's worst spring wildfire season to date.

Another 389 fires were recorded since June 1, and as of this morning there are 413 active fires underway, with the risk having spread to more provinces over the weekend.

Nearly 250 of those are 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, says 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.

ORIGINAL: 6:20 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to provide an update on the wildfires that have forced thousands of people from their homes and caused widespread property damage in several provinces.

Trudeau will appear in Ottawa today alongside a number of ministers, including Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

His announcement comes as several provinces have been dealing with dangerous wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of square kilometres of land across Canada over the last two months.

There were more than 150 fires burning in Quebec on Sunday, which forced thousands of people from their homes in the northwestern part of the province over the weekend.

In Nova Scotia, the largest wildfire in the province's history continued to burn out of control in Shelburne County, while firefighters managed to contain a blaze near Halifax that damaged or destroyed over 150 suburban residences.

Alberta recently ended a provincewide state of emergency it implemented to deal with unprecedented wildfires in that province, even as officials warned the situation remained serious.

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