Quebec Minister of Public Security Francois Bonnardel said the situation in the central and northwestern areas of the province, where many of the wildfires originated, remained challenging. Some 435 wildfires were burning across Canada, producing wildfire smoke and forcing officials in some Canadian provinces to order evacuations.
"This is a first in the history of Quebec to fight so many fires to evacuate so many people," said Bonnardel, who recently ordered the evacuation of some 14,000 people from the vicinity of the fires. "We are going to have a fight that we think will last all summer ... we haven't yet won the battle."
Forecasts prepared by Natural Resources Canada indicated that between June and September, wildfires will burn across larger swathes of forests of the central parts of the country. During that period, the country is also expected to experience "well above average" wildfire intensity than in previous years – potentially spewing intermittent smoke over the lower 48 states and pushing dangerous smog over the United States, including in the metro areas of New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
In Quebec and eastern regions, wildfire incidence is expected to be back to normal by September. (Related: Arson is the likely cause of Quebec wildfires, not carbon emissions.)
The smoke that sent U.S. air quality ratings to negative record levels, especially in New York and Philadelphia, may persist throughout this year's wildfire season.
"These fires are still burning and they're going to continue to burn beyond the next few days," said Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University. "Whether we see impacts here in Baltimore or along the eastern seaboard has a lot to do with where the wind is blowing at any given time."
Official government sources claimed that the recent bout of fires that affected the East Coast and Midwest was ignited by lightning strikes.
"Our modeling shows this may be an especially severe wildfire season throughout this summer as more than 400 fires continue to burn," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference.
Mike Norton, director general of the Northern Forestry Center at the Canadian Department of Natural Resources, claimed that the number of fires was abnormal so early in the season, and urged Canadians to exercise "extreme care" since wildfire smoke can be hazardous to people's health even hundreds of miles away from the fires as they carry particles that can harm the lungs.
Canada had an extremely dry and snow-free winter, leaving all 10 provinces under conditions that range from abnormally dry to moderate or severe drought, according to the Canadian government's drought tracker.
Dry and hot weather also breeds more lightning. Half of Canada's wildfires are started by lightning, the other half by humans. Lightning-sparked fires also tend to be more destructive.
Find more related stories at Disaster.news.
Watch this episode of "The Benny Show" to know more about the satellite footage showing the Canadian wildfires starting at the same time.
This video is from the Galactic Storm channel on Brighteon.com.