© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A soldier of the 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG) views a wildfire from a Canadian Forces helicopter surveying the area near Mistissini, Quebec, Canada June 12, 2023. Cpl Marc-Andre Leclerc/Canadian Forces/Handout via REUTERS/

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense began sending real-time satellite and sensor data to Canadian authorities on Friday, technology it said would help more quickly identify new fires as that nation endures one of its most destructive early wildfire seasons.

The U.S. has already dispatched more than 600 firefighters to Canada to help battle the flames. President Joe Biden, who has linked wildfires to climate change, said U.S. 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 convey it via a cooperative agreement between the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge said in a statement.

He said the Biden Administration was also deploying additional U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), USDA Forest Service (USFS), and state wildland firefighting personnel and equipment to Canada.

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Canada is suffering through its most destructive start to wildfire season, with about 4.8 million hectares (48,000 square kilometers) already burned, an area larger than the Netherlands.

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