[1/2] Smoke from the Tantallon wildfire rises over houses in nearby Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada, May 28, 2023. REUTERS/Eric Martyn/File Photo
OTTAWA, June 1 (Reuters) - Canada sent the military on Thursday to the eastern province of Nova Scotia to help tackle wildfires that have forced 18,000 people from their homes as unprecedented dry early summer weather sparked blazes across the country.
Nova Scotia is battling two large fires that are threatening communities on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Halifax.
Across the country there are 211 wildfires burning in seven of its 10 provinces, with 82 of the blazes out of control, said Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.
The armed forces would provide equipment and personnel to relieve firefighters "who have been working tirelessly around the clock to protect communities right across Nova Scotia", Blair said.
While Canada often sees wildfires in the summer, rarely has it seen so many so early.
Some 28,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, about 18,000 of them in Nova Scotia, which is forecast to remain hot and dry.
"These conditions this early in the season are unprecedented," Blair told reporters. "Due to climate change, similar extreme weather events may continue to increase in both frequency and severity across our country."
The western province of Alberta has 61 wildfires, 16 of them out of control, officials said, while and the central province of Quebec has 13 active wildfires with two out of control, CBC News reported, citing Quebec's fire prevention agency.
People have been forced out of 500 homes as a fire approached the Chapais community in northern Quebec, the CBC reported.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter late on Thursday that the government was closely monitoring the situation in Quebec.
The federal government sent the military to Alberta last month to help battle blazes there and Canada is also getting help from other countries.
Some 800 U.S. firefighters have come to battle the blazes, mostly in Alberta, with another 100 are scheduled to arrive in Nova Scotia over coming days, officials said.
Australia and New Zealand have sent some 224 firefighters, and South Africa is sending more than 200, officials said.
Reporting by Steve Scherer; Additional reporting by Anirudh Saligrama; Editing by Sharon Singleton, Robert Birsel
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.