Rain to help clear Canada's air soon, but days away from Quebec fires
Rain is likely to help clear up smoky air in eastern Canada starting Sunday but may not reach the forest fires raging in the province of Quebec until days later, a government meteorologist said on Saturday.
There were 426 fires across Canada on Saturday morning, 144 of them in Quebec. Canadian forest fires regularly occur in the summer but the scope of the current conflagration - and its early arrival - are unprecedented.
The fires on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts have burned 4.4 million hectares so far, forced thousands of Canadians from their homes and spread smoke that has left residents from Toronto to New York gasping for breath.
Federal meteorologist Gerald Cheng told reporters on Saturday that rain was expected Sunday in southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec, which will likely help clear smoke.