Canada Long, hot wildfire season coming: researchers

04:00  17 may  2018
04:00  17 may  2018 Source:

Amid more than a dozen blaze bans, early wildfire conditions a concern, says province

  Amid more than a dozen blaze bans, early wildfire conditions a concern, says province Amid more than a dozen blaze bans, early wildfire conditions a concern, says provinceWith 17 fire bans already declared across Alberta, a provincial forestry official said wildfire conditions are considerably worse than last year.

Fire seasons are becoming hotter , drier and longer . July 26, 2016. Now, an international team of researchers has developed a way I'll go out on a limb and predict the U.S. wildfire season will be a lot less severe than this study finds.

Studies show that continued climate change is going to make wildfires much more common in the coming decades. As average global temperatures rise, researchers project that the risk of wildfires in America’s For full-size graphs of each state, see the Appendix. Fire Season Is Getting Longer .

a sunset in the background© Provided by Federal wildfire researchers say most regions in Canada could be facing a long, hot, fiery summer.

Wildfire starts and the amount of land burned were below average for the first few weeks of the season, but dry weather is turning things around, said Richard Carr, a fire research analyst with Natural Resources Canada.

"We've had a long, lingering winter and a bit of a slow start to the fire season, but the numbers are higher than the same time last year."

Across the country, wildfire starts have been above average since the end of April. On the national fire danger map, the risk in almost all of the three most westerly provinces is rated at least high. Saskatchewan shows as almost entirely extreme.

Shifting winds create tricky conditions for fire crews near Bruderheim, Alta.

  Shifting winds create tricky conditions for fire crews near Bruderheim, Alta. It's a typical sign of early spring in Alberta: the tinder-dry, brown grass that ignites with a spark and burns with a fury. Add heat and wind and a small fire quickly becomes something that is difficult to contain. "With the wind picking up, it's starting to push the fire and feed oxygen to the fire, basically. And it's intensifying the fire," said Bob Scott, Strathcona County's deputy fire chief. "The warm temperatures aren't helping at all. And neither is the relative humidity as it drops."© Anna McMillan/CBC Shifting winds made it difficult to control two fires near Bruderheim, Alta., on Sunday.

Dr. Jolly’s research shows that the season , measured by how many days are hot and dry enough to increase An article on April 13 about wildfires that are burning earlier and longer referred incorrectly to the scope of fires Researcher Finds Way to Fight Cheatgrass, a Western Scourge OCT. 5, 2015.

Hot , dry conditions in the summertime make wildfires likely to plague the Pacific Northwest and California. Worse fire seasons predicted for Hawaii, Alaska, Southwest. May 2, 2016. During the longest drought in California's modern history, a pair of UO researchers headed into the woods of

Two provinces have already had their first evacuations of the year. About 40 people in Crutwell, Sask., have had to flee their homes at least twice. Seven families in Lac du Bonnet, Man., also had to leave.

Manitoba has counted 119 fires so far. Last year at this time, the figure was 27 and the year before that it was 58.

Nationally, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says Canada is about 100 fires ahead of the 10-year average for early May.

Although some parts of the country are flooding, much of the forested area remains dry, said Carr.

"It's pretty dry across that whole stretch, right from British Columbia to western Ontario."

Ontario has banned open fires in its northwest and Alberta has posted bans in many parks and municipalities. A ban in Saskatchewan covers Crown land in provincial parks, except in the Cypress Hills.

B.C. flood fears remain as evacuations lifted

  B.C. flood fears remain as evacuations lifted Many people forced from their homes by flooding in southern British Columbia have been allowed to return, but officials say there are still areas of concern in many parts of the province. Evacuation orders for about 171 addresses in Grand Forks were lifted Tuesday, with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary saying the threat of flooding had decreased.

The West has warmed nearly 2°F in recent decades, causing wildfire season to stretch out longer and encompass more land. Some researchers have even suggested that this year’s exceptionally wet, rainy, growth-inducing winter was a preview of what’s what’s to come in a warmer future.

While wildfires do naturally happen in the west, research shows that as temperatures have increased, wildfire season has gotten longer and larger fires have become more common. Researchers expect the trend of more destructive wildfire seasons to continue.

The Alberta government produces a map that displays how dry forests are. Almost the entire forested region of the province rates at least 89 out of 100.

More worrisome are Environment Canada's weather predictions for the summer. Although precipitation is difficult to predict and some rainy relief is expected by July, Carr said the data suggests it will mostly be hot and dry.

"There's still a fair amount of Canada that's showing drier than normal conditions," he said.

"If we get rain during that time, we might go into a lull and have a normal summer. But if it stays dry — and it looks like there's a chance that it might — we might be a busier season.

"A number of models are predicting a warm summer across North America. That's really increased."

Canada has about 8,000 wildfires every year that burn an average 21,000 square kilometres of forest. The amount burned varies widely from year to year, but federal statistics suggest that figure has been rising for the last several years.

Scientists theorize that increased wildfires will be one of the main effects of climate change as hotter weather and less predictable precipitation creates more volatile forests.

Fire conditions are tough to predict. Heavy rains, lightning strikes or gusting winds can change everything.

But Carr said conditions are lining up for a difficult summer.

"It is picking up pace now."

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Evacuation order issued for 14 properties as wildfire burns north of Kamloops .
An evacuation order has been issued for more than a dozen properties near Allie Lake due to "potential danger to life and health" from a wildfire burning in the area. The fire, north of Kamloops, has grown to 2,100 hectares — doubling in size since Thursday. The blaze isn't far from the perimeter of last summer's Elephant Hill fire, which was one of the largest in the province during the season. An evacuation alert is also in effect for 51 other properties. John Ranta, the chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, says it's hard to say how long people may be out of their homes.


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