Canada Wildfires Due to Human-Caused Climate Crisis: Scientists
The spate of wildfires raging in Canada this year is likely due to human-caused climate crisis. The 2023 Canadian wildfire season has been the largest, and most devastating on record. A group of scientists in Canada, the UK and the Switzerland zeroed down on climate crisis as the main culprit.
They found that while he fire-prone weather conditions were unprecedented, they are no longer unexpected. This will become more common as the world continues to heat up. Yan Boulanger, research scientist at Natural Resources Canada and part of the World Weather Attribution study team, said the word “unprecedented” doesn’t do justice to the severity of the wildfires in Canada. He highlighted that the doubling of the previous burned area record is shocking.
Canada’s 2023 wildfires are more than double the size of the previous record, caused more than a dozen fatalities and thousands of evacuations and a plume of smoke that unfurled as far as Norway turned the sky above New York City orange. Boulanger said climate change is greatly increasing the flammability of the fuel available for wildfires. “This means that a single spark, regardless of its source, can rapidly turn into a blazing inferno.”
Climate change helps set the stage for wildfires or forest fires by drying out vegetation. It easily becomes fuel for flames. Philippe Gachon, a researcher at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, said snow cover has traditionally limited the extent of wildfires in Canada, but that is now changing. “This year, high temperatures led to the rapid thawing and disappearance of snow during May, particularly in eastern Quebec, resulting in unusually early wildfires. The ongoing loss of snow in a warming climate means that wildfires will burn for many more days each year in Canada.”
Climate scientists agree that weather that increase fire risk is getting more severe as climate change gets worse. More intense fire weather leads to much more dangerous burns, with high winds spreading the fires quickly.