Here is the fire as seen from space by MODIS spectroradiometer:
And here is the same fire from the ground:
Let's look at the at the historical size of the wildfires in Canada from 1959, when the data are available:
The Eastmain fire is the 3rd largest in the history of Canada given that no bigger fires occured after 2000. Source: Canadian Forest Service.
Anf if we look at the longer-term perspective of the area of forest fires since 1921, we see a trend of an increased fire activity:
Source: Flannigan and de Groot 2009 (PDF presentation).
Six of the record fire seasons all occured after 2004. Source: National Interagency Fire Center.
The increase of wildfires is the combination of climate change and of aggressive fire suppresion after the WW2, so that the forests have grown much denser. Once they start to burn, crown fires are almost impossible to extinquish. Climate change and associated increased drought (less soil moisture), higher temperatures and more intense heatwaves add to the deadly combination. Forests in Western US are therefore in greatest fire deficit for at least 3000 years.
But compared to Russia, US forests seem quite healthy! Look at the following graph:
Blue and red circles show yearly size of burned forests in Russia according the two methodologies, green circles show size of burned forest in USA over the longer time period (as show in previous graph alone).
In Russia this fire season seems to be a quiet one (as opposed to extreme years of 2010, or 2012), so no worries. Why then, an oil and natural gas rich country needs to borrow 40 mil dollars from the World Bank to fight forest fires?
So clearly, we see a taste of what will happen to our forests if climate change continues unabated.