Wildfires burning in Canada have displaced tens of thousands of people in the country and blanketed parts of the U.S. in smoke, leading to poor air quality.
More than half of the 428 active fires burning in Canada are listed by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center as “out of control.”
Stel asked VERIFY if the U.S. is sending firefighters to help battle the Canadian wildfires.
Is the U.S. sending firefighters to Canada to battle wildfires?
Yes, the U.S. is sending firefighters to Canada to battle wildfires.
WHAT WE FOUND
Hundreds of U.S. firefighters and other personnel are working alongside Canadian firefighters to battle wildfires in the country.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that “more than 600 U.S. firefighters, support personnel and firefighting assets” have been deployed to Canada since May. Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 7 to offer any additional help that the country needs to put out the wildfires.
In addition, the president said he’s “directed the National Interagency Fire Center to respond promptly to Canadian requests for additional firefighters and fire suppression assets, such as air tankers.”
Some of the firefighters deployed to Canada are from East Coast states that have been hit hard by poor air quality as smoke from the wildfires drifts into the U.S.
A team of forest rangers with New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is deploying to eastern Canada to help contain wildfires, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on June 8.
Hochul’s office said the New York team will join firefighters from New Hampshire and Maine in the Canadian province of Quebec, where more than 100 fires are burning.
Prior to Hochul’s announcement, another DEC forest ranger was sent to Nova Scotia to serve as the crew boss of a group of firefighters from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine.
These two missions mark the first time that New York forest rangers have been deployed to Canada to fight wildfires since 2005, according to Hochul’s office.
"DEC Forest Rangers are world-class wildland firefighters and bring a wealth of knowledge to assist our partners in Canada,” New York DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Oftentimes, they're traveling out west where we only see the effects of the fire on TV. This time, we've been feeling the effects for days. Their work will be instrumental in helping lead the firefighting efforts and we look forward to their safe return."
Canada has also helped the U.S. battle wildfires over the years, providing fire managers, large air tankers, water scoopers, smokejumpers and wildland fire crews, the National Interagency Fire Center said in 2016.
If you live in an area that’s impacted by poor air quality due to wildfire smoke, you can read six ways to protect yourself here.