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Third firefighter dies battling worst wildfires on record in Canada

A third firefighter has died in Canada while battling the country’s worst wildfire season on record.

Authorities say the firefighter died tackling the Donnie Creek fire near Fort St John, in the western province of British Columbia.

People are evacuating an area further south in the province, near the US border, as fires swirl out of control.

A third of all fires currently raging in Canada are in British Columbia.

So far this season, Canadian wildfires have burned about 30 million acres of land – more than the land area of South Korea or Cuba.

Residents in the town of Osoyoos, in the south of the province, and its surrounding areas were told to evacuate late on Saturday after a fire originating from the northwestern US state of Washington crossed into Canada.

People in the town shared photos of the approaching fire on social media, including the image above.

Two other firefighters have died in separate incidents this month in what has become Canada’s worst wildfire season on record.

A fourth person, the pilot of a helicopter helping with “bucketing” operations, died after a crash in the neighbouring Alberta province last week.

Some 613 of the 990 fires currently active in Canada are considered out of control.

British Columbia’s premier David Eby confirmed the third firefighter’s death in a statement on Saturday, saying: “My heart goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of this frontline hero.”

Mr Eby said the season this year had been “profoundly awful” and described firefighters making “extraordinary sacrifices… to keep us safe”.

In June, firefighters in Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast battled the province’s largest ever wildfire.

Climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires.

The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.

Canada is estimated to be warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and its extreme weather events have become more frequent and intense.

Its wildfires have also sparked pollution alerts across North America, as smoke is blown south along the continent’s eastern coast. Smoke has even reached as far as Europe.

(Source: BBC)


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