Where are the wildfires in Canada? Maps show fire locations as record wildfire season continues

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Fresh wildfires are causing air quality concerns across parts of North America

A map has captured the scale of wildfires which are currently raging yet again across Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused Facebook of putting profits before people’s safety during the emergencies created by Canada’s record wildfire season.

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Fires raging in Canada have pushed tens of thousands of people from their homes and threatened cities such as Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. About 30,000 people were under evacuation orders in British Columbia.

“Right now, in an emergency situation where up to date local information is more important than ever, Facebook is putting corporate profits ahead of people’s safety,” Mr Trudeau said at a news conference in Cornwall on Prince Edward Island on Monday. “It is so inconceivable that a company like Facebook is choosing to put corporate profits ahead of insuring that local news organizations can get up to date information to Canadians.”

British Columbia premier David Eby said it is unacceptable that Meta has not reversed its decision to block Canadian news from being shared online.

Map showing locations of the wildfires

This map from the Fire Information for Resource Management System US/ Canada is providing the latest up-to-date information on the wildfires. It is a joint venture by NASA and the USDA Forest Service and uses satellites.

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Map of wildfires in North America on 21 August. Picture: FIRMS US/ CanadaMap of wildfires in North America on 21 August. Picture: FIRMS US/ Canada
Map of wildfires in North America on 21 August. Picture: FIRMS US/ Canada | FIRMS US/ Canada

While the fires have affected the full expanse of Canada, it's the eastern fires, which are closer to the US border, which are causing most of the pollution in cities across the States.

On its website FIRMS US/ Canada explains: "FIRMS US/Canada tools and applications provide geospatial data, products and services to support strategic fire management needs of US and Canadian agencies and inform the general public."

The latest map from Monday, 21 August, shows that there are active fires ongoing in North America.

Map showing air quality

There are several online maps showing air quality around the world. This map from AirNow provides a real-time view of the levels of dangerous pollution in the air.

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Particulate matter is everything in the air that is not a gas. The tiniest particles, known as PM2.5, are particularly hazardous to health because they can pass through the lungs into the bloodstream, potentially damaging other organs.

Map of Air Quality in Canada and the U.S Picture: AirNow MapMap of Air Quality in Canada and the U.S Picture: AirNow Map
Map of Air Quality in Canada and the U.S Picture: AirNow Map | AirNow Map

The map shows the dangerous levels of PM2.5 across the eastern seaboard of Canada and the US, which includes major cities in the midwest being particularly badly affected on 15 June - including the likes of Chicago, Detroit.

Why has Meta banned news about wildfires in Canada?

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced earlier this summer it would keep its promise to block news content from Canada on its platforms because of a new law that requires tech giants to pay publishers for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online. The ban applies to both local and national media such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Facebook.

The company stood by its decision and said in a statement about the wildfires that people in Canada can continue to use Instagram and Facebook “to connect with their communities and access reputable information, including content from official government agencies, emergency services and non-governmental organisations.”

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The country’s residents and visitors are not able to view or share news on the Meta-owned social networks, including news articles, videos and audio posted by outlets inside or outside of Canada.

Google’s owner Alphabet also said it planned to remove Canadian news links in response to the new law, although it has not yet. The Online News Act, passed in late June after lengthy debate, is set to take effect later this year.

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