Authorities in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on Wednesday asked for the help of the military and the United States to deal with large forest fires raging in the eastern part of the country, including one that threatens Halifax, where thousands of residents were hastily evacuated from their homes.

“We’re in a crisis in the province and we want, we need and we’re going to take any help we can get,” summarized Tim Houston, premier of the Canadian Atlantic coast province, during a news conference.

“These fires are unprecedented,” he added.

In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the situation as “heartbreaking”, promised mobilization and assured that help was on the way.

The fires follow those that swept the province of Alberta (west) in May, burning hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest land.

“People are tired, desperate and scared,” said Mike Savage, the mayor of Halifax, the provincial capital.

Over 16,000 residents of northeastern sectors of the city have already been hastily evacuated from their homes.

Yesterday Wednesday, 14 wildfires were raging in Nova Scotia, three of which were classified as out of control. Some 200 houses and other buildings were destroyed, however no injuries have been reported so far.

Additional vehicles with water cannons, firefighters from the US and more than ten firefighting aircraft have already been dispatched to the area, while the Coast Guard is also involved in efforts to extinguish the flames.

The smoke from the fires that have been ravaging the province for three days has descended on the US Atlantic coast: a steep increase in air pollution is recorded in the state of New Jersey and in places in Pennsylvania.

Last Tuesday night, the Premier of Nova Scotia banned all activity in the province’s forests, including walks.

“Stop setting fires. Stop throwing cigarette butts out of your car windows. Cut it out. Our resources are overstretched right now to deal with the fires that have already broken out,” he said, noting that more than a dozen cases of residents illegally setting fires were reported to authorities this week alone.