Canada’s Trudeau promises to rebuild ‘terrible losses’ after visiting wildfire evacuees

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that the federal government would be there “in the coming months and years” to help communities rebuild the “terrible losses” as the country continued to battle its worst-ever wildfire season, with more than 1,000 active fires burning across the nation.

Speaking after a visit to an evacuation center for Northwest Territories residents affected by wildfires on Friday, Trudeau paid tribute to first responders, police, and volunteers for the way they have stepped up, calling the way Canadians were looking out for each other “truly extraordinary”.

“This is something we’ve seen right across the country this summer. From the east coast, the fires in Nova Scotia, to dealing with floods across the country with wildfires in just about every province across this country. Terrible loss, increased extreme weather events. And all through it. We’ve seen Canadians step up, obviously, first responders, firefighters, police, volunteers, Red Cross have been incredible in supporting and responding to people,” Trudeau said.

The province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency on Friday as firefighters battled a wildfire raging in the hills and mountains above the town of West Kelowna, forcing thousands of evacuations.

Experts say climate change has exacerbated the wildfire problem. Drought has been a contributing factor to the number and intensity of this year’s fires, officials say, with high temperatures exacerbating the situation. Much of Canada has seen abnormally dry conditions.

Around 65% of the Northwest Territories’ 46,000 population look set to be evacuated.