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PHOTOS: B.C. wildfires choke western Canada in smoke

Ash covers the ground in an area burned by the Shovel Lake wildfire, near Fort Fraser, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
(Photo by Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press)

PHOTOS: B.C. wildfires choke western Canada in smoke

British Columbia’s wildfire season is now the second worst in the province’s history, officials say.

The blazes have burned 9,450 square kilometres of land so far in 2018, government statistics indicate. This year has seen almost 600 wildfires more than 2017, but officials say they’ve been more manageable due to late spring rains.

But disturbingly, officials say more than 400 of this year’s blazes were completely avoidable and caused by humans through campfires, cigarettes, flares and car accidents.

Smoke from the wildfires has been causing air quality issues, visibility problems and turning the sky black in some places. Earlier his month, it looked like nighttime during the day in cities such as Prince George. Numerous flights were also grounded throughout the province. Authorities in some cities warned resident air quality was a “very high” health risk and cautioned them to stay indoors.

The haze drifted as far south as the U.S. states of Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wyoming, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was reported as far east as Hudson’s Bay in Ontario, and was wafting over the Atlantic to Irelandthis weekend.

Here are some photos that show what Canada’s west is going through.