Warm summer means increased risk of forest fires, meteorologists say

Warm summer means risk of forest fires

Nearly a year after the massive wildfire that devastated Fort McMurray, Alta., a climate scientist says there may be more forest fires in Canada this summer. 

“If the forecast’s right that it’s a warmer than normal summer, we’ll probably have more fires,” says Mike Flannigan, a meteorologist and professor in the University of Alberta’s renewable resources department.

Flannigan says there are about 7000 forest fires a year in Canada on average. But that number can vary dramatically depending on the weather. Warm temperatures mean a longer fire season, and more susceptible conditions.

Forest fires are usually triggered either by lightning or by human activity. But Flannigan says there’s an increased risk of both kinds of fires in warmer weather, particularly in climates that are also dry and windy.

A warm summer also means a longer fire season, he says. Fire damage is typically worst in mid-summer, with July as the most dangerous month.

However perhaps the worst wildfire in Canadian history, the Fort McMurray blaze that forced the evacuation of all residents in the area for weeks and caused massive damage to the city, started in May, 2016.

There are concrete steps people can take to eliminate the risk of fires, Flannigan says. It’s important to be thorough when extinguishing campfires. “Fires can smolder for long periods of time and burn underground if conditions are right,” he says. “You think you just dump one bucket of water on it, and you’re done? It takes more effort than you sometimes think.” He also advises following all fire bans.

The state of Canada’s ecology and the reality of a changing climate means forest fires will always be something we must contend with, Flannigan says. “There will be fire on the landscape. We do things to minimize the risk, but we never can eliminate it.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Wait times for ICBC road tests increase in Victoria

Increase has no connection with tests becoming more challenging: ICBC

Smoking pot? Your dentist wants to know

Vancouver dentist and cannabis researcher shares oral health concerns of marijuana

Fall-ing for unseasonably warm weather in Victoria

Environment Canada forecast calls for sunshine through weekend

Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

The B.C.-wide, one-and-a-half-minute drill will be held Thursday

Oak Bay High spearheads campaign to resurface Commonwealth Games training track

Community campaigns to revitalize Jack Wallace Memorial Track

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

UVic looks to socialize seniors in the digital age

Computer science department to host series of workshops for those 60 and over

EU’s Barnier hopes Brexit deal possible in ‘coming weeks’

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March, but a Brexit agreement must be sealed in coming weeks to leave enough time for relevant parliaments to ratify it.

Most Read