The U.S. Department of Defense began sending real-time satellite and sensor data to Canadian authorities on Friday, technology it says would help identify new fires more quickly as Canada experiences one of its most destructive early wildfire seasons.
The US has already sent more than 600 firefighters to Canada to help fight the flames. US President Joe Biden, who has linked wildfires to climate change, said US officials were monitoring air quality and aviation delays.
“Starting today, DOD personnel will analyze and share real-time data derived from U.S. satellites and sensors and transfer it through a collaborative agreement between the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center,” said the spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council. Adam Hodge said in a statement.
Hodge’s statement said the move was made “to do everything possible to mitigate air quality deterioration in American communities caused by smoke from wildfires in Canada.”
The US will send information from a Pentagon program that the Biden administration first used in 2021 for US fire detection and suppression “and has already proven very effective,” Hodge said.
He said the Biden administration was also sending additional personnel and equipment from the United States Department of the Interior (DOI), USDA Forest Service (USFS), and state firefighting personnel and equipment to Canada.
Canada is suffering the most destructive start to the wildfire season, with about 48,000 square kilometers already burned, an area larger than the Netherlands.