The fire season in Canada: Causes

The fire season in Canada is already approaching, and experts believe that it will be one of the most intense, even more intense than that of 2024.

The fire season in Canada will reach, at least, the rates of 2023, when a record 18 million hectares of forest were burned.

This was stated by Canadian authorities on Wednesday, April 10.

“Above-average temperatures are expected this year in Canada. Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are facing extreme drought conditions. We cannot ignore the climate crisis,” said Canadian Emergencies Minister Harjit Sajjan via his X account.

But what causes the fire season in Canada is a question that citizens ask themselves every year.

According to the official’s answer, the fire season in Canada is due to the extreme drought affecting the country.

In a press conference, he said that there are currently more than 70 active forest fires, mostly in the west of the country.

Despite the cold weather in the area, the fire season in Canada is favored by a winter that has been much drier and warmer than usual.

In that sense, from December to February, the country’s average temperatures were 5.2 degrees higher than historical records that began in 1948.


Canada’s Fire Season: Causes

The Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, pointed out that “there have always been forest fires across Canada”, but that “what is new is their frequency and intensity”.

In this regard, Ottawa plans to train an additional 1,000 forest firefighters and next week will double the tax credit for volunteer firefighters in the federal budget.

On the other hand, to insulate the fire season in Canada, 256 million Canadian dollars (187 million dollars) will be given to the provinces and territories to purchase specialized equipment to face the forest fire season.

In 2023, 232 thousand people were evacuated because of the fire season in Canada, some 1052 fires were recorded.

The Director General of the Ministry, Michael Martin, has declared that 6,174 fires occurred this year in the whole country.

During this fire season in Canada, an area of 165,000 square kilometers was transformed into ashes and the flames continue to spread. 

Anthony Taylor, a specialist in forest management at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, interviewed by Nature, said that “the number one cause is the weather”.

Fires in Canada are routine, but it has been a particularly warm and dry spring in much of the country. Particularly in eastern Canada, which had about 50% less spring precipitation than usual.

Piyush Jain, a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, says it is unlikely to be related to an El Niño weather pattern, which brings warmer temperatures to the eastern Pacific Ocean and tends to warm the planet as a whole.

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) confirmed that El Niño has arrived, but the effects are not expected to manifest until the end of the year.

Still, extraordinary weather is not unexpected as the planet warms.

“Climate change is definitely a factor that is causing these extreme conditions to occur more frequently,” Jain explained.

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