Biden speaks with Trudeau about Canadian wildfires as air quality issues persist in US

Biden speaks with Trudeau about Canadian wildfires as air quality issues persist in US

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and offered federal support to respond to wildfires burning in Canada, which have caused widespread air quality issues across the eastern United States.

Biden directed his administration to deploy “all available Federal firefighting assets that can rapidly assist in suppressing fires impacting Canadian and American communities,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

The U.S. has deployed more than 600 firefighters and support personnel to date, the White House said, and other equipment to respond to the fires. Biden and Trudeau discussed how to have continued coordination to prevent wildfires and address the resulting health impacts.

Canada is experiencing what NASA has described as an “unusually intense” start to its wildfire season that included fires in the province of Quebec that were caused by lightning. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aerosol Watch said that the fires “grew uncontrollably” over the weekend and brought “code red” and “code orange” air quality to the U.S. states of Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. 

As the fires have burned, smoke has blown into the U.S., affecting more than a dozen states. NBC News reported that parts of 18 states were under air quality alerts as of Wednesday.

An EPA spokesperson told The Hill in an email that the agency estimates that more than 100 million people are being impacted by air quality alerts on Wednesday, including as far west as Chicago and as far South as Atlanta.

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