Why do Canada have so many forest fires?

torontoForest fire season The hurricane reached full force in western Canada, prompting evacuation orders and alerts in several towns in British Columbia and neighboring Alberta due to the threat of out-of-control fires. According to the Department of British Columbia Latest bushfire situation reportSeven evacuation orders and five warnings have been issued in the county since Friday, displacing about 4,700 residents from their homes.

British Columbia’s Emergency Management Minister Bonin Ma warned Monday that “the situation is rapidly evolving,” with officials saying there are 130 active wildfires burning, 14 of which are out of control.

The 2023 wildfire season in Canada was the worst on record, with 6,551 fires burning nearly 46 million acres, from the West Coast to the Atlantic provinces and the Far North. The impact on the environment, especially air quality, in both Canada and the United States has been profound. As expected2024 looks set to be another devastating wildfire season, and disaster and climate experts have a good idea why.

Most of the fires now sweeping Canada have already been burning since last fire season, after smoldering slowly over the winter under snow.


Climate change makes wildfires more dangerous

Scientists say these fires, sometimes called zombie fires, are a stark reminder of the impact of fires Climate change. Studies have linked fires during the winter to persistent drought conditions amid the increasingly dry and hot springs Canada has experienced in recent years. Scientists say lower precipitation and warmer winter temperatures mean fires can continue to burn in the dense layers of vegetation beneath the snow.

Sonya Leferkus, a British Columbia ecosystem scientist who also works as a firefighter, told CBS News on Monday that the Canadian province’s northeastern province is experiencing a lot of wildfires right now “because we’re in a severe drought for the third year in a row.” “.

Dry conditions are likely to make things worse before they get better, she said.

Leverkus has been on the front lines of the battle against the fires in her hometown of Fort Nelson, where she, her colleagues, and their communities are currently under evacuation orders.

The Parker Lake wildfire glows in an aerial photo taken by a British Columbia Emergency Health Services crew through the window of an aircraft evacuating patients from nearby Fort Nelson, on May 10, 2024.

Andrey Aksenov/BCEHS


“Many of the current fires this week were 2023 wildfires that spent the winter underground,” she said. “We’re spring heavy, with low relative humidity, high winds, heat, and no precipitation. Hence, wildfires.”

Bushfire expert Ben Baughian is commenting on the fire this week It threatens the Parker Lake community In British Columbia on Sunday, extreme drought conditions last year enabled fires to spread at astonishing rates this spring, and because of below-normal snowpack, new fires are starting more easily.

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