Spring wildfires costing Indigenous services ‘millions’ says minister

The minister responsible for Indigenous services says her department is spending millions of dollars to support First Nations dealing with the early wildfire season.

“The forecast doesn’t look good, it’s all across the country and the scientists are predicting severe wildfire risk for the months of June, July and August,” said Hajdu.

According to information provided by the department, Indigenous services has paid out $40 million in support for the wildfire season so far.

A media briefing by Natural Resources Canada – or NRCan – on Monday said if the fires continue to burn the country “could exceed the largest total ever recorded in Canada.”

As of Monday morning, there were 413 active fires underway, with the risk having spread to more provinces over the weekend.

Nearly 250 of those were out of control in nine provinces and two territories.

A comparison of previous fire seasons showed that so far that 2,214 fires nationally have burned approximately 3.3 million hectares – compared to a ten-year average of 1,624 fires and 254,426 hectares burned.

According to the numbers, there have been 120,000 evacuations so far and 26,000 people are still out of their homes.

Alberta has been particularly hard hit by the fires.

NDP MP Blake Desjarlais said he’s seen firsthand what the wildfires have done to East Prairie Métis Settlement.

“East Prairie has lost 14 homes, countless other structures and there are people who are homeless as we speak,” he said. “When the evacuation order was lifted, could you just imagine how painful that would be to see a family hoping and praying their best to go home.

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