President Joe Biden spoke with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, offering to provide federal assistance in addressing the ongoing wildfires in Canada that have resulted in significant air quality challenges across the eastern United States.
The White House, in a readout of the call between two leaders, said Biden directed his officials to deploy “all available Federal firefighting assets that can rapidly assist in suppressing fires impacting Canadian and American communities.”
Washington has announced that over 600 firefighters and support personnel have been deployed by the Biden administration thus far, along with additional equipment, to tackle the fires.
Biden and Trudeau also held discussions on ensuring ongoing coordination to prevent wildfires and address the associated health effects proactively, the White House said.
Canada is currently witnessing an “unusually intense” beginning to its wildfire season, as characterized by NASA. Lightning-induced fires in the province of Quebec have contributed to this situation.
The quality of air has impacted various American and Canadian metropolitan areas as there had been reports of people having trouble breathing air.
Reports of New York City was filtered with bad quality of haze on Tuesday and Wednesday affecting the citizens with pre-existing health conditions. Air quality advisories remain in place through Thursday for all five boroughs of the city, affecting more than 8 million people.
Cities in Canada affected by the blazing fire also included Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City where wildfires have polluted most of the northeastern United States.
The smoke has gotten far as west into Kansas City.
More than 100 wildfires have crossed Canadian provinces from Ontario into Quebec burning more than 9.3 million acres.
“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,” said the White House officials in a statement.
As per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aerosol Watch, the fires in Canada “grew uncontrollably” over the weekend and brought “code red” and “code orange” air quality to Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
“With the current hands, we can fight about 40 fires at a time,” said Quebec’s Premier Francois Legault.
The smoke has crossed the border into the U.S., impacting over a dozen states. The United States Environmental Protection Agency told The Hill that as of Wednesday, nearly 100 million people were being impacted by air quality alerts.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Jessi Rexroad Shull