Photo: BC Wildfires handout
29 Jun 2023

More than 30 million hectares of land may have burned in Canada 2023: France sends 120 more firefighters to Quebec


On June 27th, France announced that 120 French firefighters will arrive in Quebec to relay their colleagues who arrived earlier in June to help the Canadian firefighters. Their departure is planned from the city of Marseille. 

Canada is currently in the midst of massive fires, and the French speaking province of Quebec in the Eastern parts of Canada is currently the most affected.  

According to the French news site FranceBleu.fr, more than six million hectares of forested land has burned to date in all of Canada in 2023. 423 fires are still active in the country, half of which are considered out of control.

(Editorial footnote August 1: By July 31, the area of burned land in Canada was over 30 million acres. Read more on CTIF.org. )

“The mission of the first contingent of French firefighters is coming to an end ,” explains Stéphane Caron, prevention and communications coordinator for the French wildfire agency SOPFEU. 

"They are leaving for France on June 28 and a second contingent will take over the same day."  

Just like foth the for the previous French firefighters sent to Quebec, their mission will last 21 days and  "they will also be deployed in Roberval" , 250 km north of Quebec City.

The commander David Durupt said to France Bleu on Monday: 

"It's amazing. These fires are huge and numerous". 

On Sunday, he and his team  "covered 300 km of tracks in dense smoke", he says. The fire was very violent and difficult to access anywhere the seat of the fire. It had "significant temperature radiation" .

David Durups says that in proportion to the immense size of the forests, there are relatively fewer firefighters in Canada than in France: 

"For a fire of 2,500 hectares and another of 15,000 hectares, we are only the French detachment made up of a hundred firefighters. The ratio is really, really low ," he said.

Photo Credit: BC Wildfires handout