HomeNewsClimate Devastation: Wildfires in Eastern Canada Twice as Likely Thanks to Climate Change

Climate Devastation: Wildfires in Eastern Canada Twice as Likely Thanks to Climate Change

As Canadians move into the summer months, increasingly intense and prolonged wildfires in the East and other regions of the country bring the often-unspoken link between climate change and natural disasters into stark relief.

Although these fires endanger both people and property, analyzing the seasonal weather patterns may inform how they take shape in the future. Recently, scientists have identified a relationship between the increasing odds of warm, dry temperatures and climate change-related warming in a study that assessed the unprecedented severity of the wild fires that burned in Eastern Canada in 2016.

The study reveals that climate change has increased the odds of the 2016 birding conditions by at least double what they would have been under historical climate patterns. It is estimated that over 1.3 million hectares burned across Canada in 2016, the second-largest recorded area.

Researchers stated that the warmer air and drier fuels were primary contributing factors to the length and intensity of the wild fires. The greatest relative increases in extreme fire weather occurred in June and July, with large regions of Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces experiencing extremes not seen before 2016.

Not only did these conditions lead to a higher intensity of fires, but their rapid spread across an intense area made the event especially catastrophic. The researchers concluded that even if there were no changes in weather patterns due to climate change, the region would still have experienced spring and summer weather conditions favourable for wild fires happening at about half the likelihood that occurred in 2016.

In the future, local agencies should develop risk-management strategies to cope with increasingly extreme fires that are becoming a growing risk due to climate change. These agencies can create early warning systems, ensure access to protective gear, and inform the public of the dangers associated with these deadly events.

Ultimately, the 2016 fires serve as a reminder that climate change is taking tangible, destructive form, and the devastation should highlight the urgent need for stronger action and regulation against rapidly worsening climate threats.

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