Washington/Toronto, June 7 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday offered Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “additional support” to fight the wave of forest fires that are devastating Canada and affecting the air quality both countries.
So far, Washington has sent some 600 firefighters, support personnel and other firefighting assets to Canada to battle the blazes.
“The president has directed his team to deploy all available federal firefighting assets that can rapidly assist in suppressing fires impacting Canadian and American communities,” the White House said in a statement.
Trudeau said that he had spoken with Biden and thanked him for the help provided so far by the United States to fight the fires.
“Both leaders acknowledged the need to work together to address the devastating impacts of climate change,” said an official summary of the conversation.
The pair also discussed the impact that smoke from the fires is having on the health of millions of people in Canada and the US.
On Twitter, Trudeau said “we’re seeing more and more of these fires because of climate change. These fires are affecting everyday routines, lives and livelihoods, and our air quality. We’ll keep working – here at home and with partners around the world – to tackle climate change and address its impacts.”
In recent days, smoke from the approximately 362 wildfires burning across Canada has spread through major Canadian urban centers as well as several cities on the east coast of the US, causing a dramatic drop in air quality, even in Washington.
New York City, which was blanketed Wednesday in an orange haze and the smell of smoke, recorded the highest levels of pollution in decades and authorities asked citizens to stay home.
Canada’s capital Ottawa also became one of the cities with the worst air quality in the world as a result of particles from the fires in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
Toronto, Canada’s largest city, was also on alert for worsening air quality, which is not expected to improve until the weekend.
Canadian authorities are recommending that the elderly, children and individuals with respiratory problems limit their outdoor activities in smoke-affected regions.
Of the nearly 400 fires in Canada, about half are not yet under control.
Authorities have warned that the figures for fires and razed land are much higher than normal for this time of the year and that in the coming months the situation will worsen to historic levels. EFE