Faced with fires of catastrophic proportions, Quebec was forced to evacuate more than 11,000 residents on Friday, June 2. This tragedy highlights the country’s vulnerability to global warming.

Canada is facing a catastrophic spring wildfire season with massive and powerful blazes out of control in all corners of the country, and thousands more people displaced on Friday.

Some 10,000 people on Friday were ordered to evacuate from Sept Iles in Quebec in the face of advancing wildfires.

Steve Beaupre, mayor of the small city on the St. Lawrence River, declared a local state of emergency and announced the mandatory evacuation after nearby wildfires “advanced very quickly” overnight.

Residents were told in the morning to vacate their homes by 4 pm local time (2100 GMT).

Stephane Lauzon, a member of Parliament from Quebec, told a news conference in Ottawa that as many as 10,000 residents, or one-third of the population of Sept Iles, would be displaced.

This followed the evacuation on Thursday of 500 residents of Chapais in the north of the province.

Canada has been hit repeatedly by extreme weather in recent years, the intensity and frequency of which have increased due to global warming.

Across Canada more than 210 fires were burning on Friday after scorching more than 2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres). A total of 29,000 people had been evacuated before Friday’s order.

After major flareups in the west of the country in May, notably in the Prairies provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, firefighting shifted in the past week to Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast.

Officials hoped rain and cooler temperatures in forecasts for the weekend following a record-breaking heat wave will bring relief.

Almost 1,000 firefighters from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States also arrived or were en route to bolster firefighting efforts.

And Ottawa was deploying the military in Nova Scotia and Quebec to help out, officials said.

In Halifax, the largest city in Nova Scotia, busloads of suburban residents were taken on tours for a first glimpse of devastated neighborhoods.

About 200 homes, as well as a wooden bridge and a historic private Halifax club founded in 1908, have been destroyed and nearly 20,000 residents have been displaced by wildfires in Nova Scotia.

Malo Pinatel, with AFP