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‘It burns wild and free up there’: Canada fires force US crews to shift strategy

By Gabrielle Canon and Leyland Cecco

29 Jun 2023 · 7 min read

informed Summary

  1. Canada is experiencing a record-breaking fire season, with 161 fires currently active—78 of which are considered out of control. The smoke from these fires has affected air quality as far south as Chicago and Detroit.

Dustan Mueller had come to expect the unexpected. The US Forest Service deputy fire chief had been deployed thousands of miles from home to battle an out-of-control blaze in the wooded bogs and swampland of Alberta, Canada.

In the dry moisture-hungry forests of northern California he was used to, a favorably-timed rainstorm would likely mean an end to the fire. But in this marshy terrain, even a late-spring storm could do little to slow the flames: two days after being doused, the conflagration roared back to life, churning through thick bands of desiccated moss and the stands of black spruce and aspen.

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