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Canada is sending water bombers and $15 million to Brazil to assist with wildfires in the South American country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at the close of G7 in France Monday.
“We are shocked and devastated to see the Amazon engulfed in flames,” said Trudeau. “Our government has been in touch with the Brazilian government to offer our support to put an end to this crisis.”
Canadian assistance will nearly match the $20 million G7 nations pledged together for wildfires sweeping Brazil, which host leader, French President Emmanuel Macron announced prior to Trudeau’s statement on the matter.
As of August 23, there were 2,500 active fires in Brazil, and to date more than 70,000 fires – most in a band through the Amazon River basin – have destroyed an estimated 7,200 square miles, or 1.9 million hectares.
By comparison, Canada – according to federal Natural Resources department’s most recent data from 2017 – experienced 5,611 wildfires that burnt nearly 3.4 million hectares.
Wildfire activity in Brazil, both human-caused and lightening-caused, has increased 83 percent since 2018.
“We could pretend that this situation in the Amazon is just part of a natural cycle, but that’s not exactly what’s going on here,” said Trudeau.
“The toll of human activity and extreme weather events on our communities, our environment, our health and our world, will continue to climb unless we take decisive action.”