As Canada continues to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, western provinces could see a wildfire season that’s “well above average,” according to scientists with the federal government.
Natural Resources Canada has released new projections showing an elevated fire risk starting in June from B.C. to Northern Ontario and the territories.
Parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. could see an elevated threat of wildfires that stretches into September.
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Bruce Macnab, the head of wildland fire information systems for the Northern Forestry Centre, said while at least one province now faces a “significant challenge” from wildfires every year, 2020 could see that threat spread across borders.
“It’s suggesting we’re going to have a fairly active fire season in Canada,” he said.
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Macnab said the models aren’t necessarily predicting fire behaviour, but they do show how weather and climate conditions could play a role in prolonging or elevating the wildfire risk.
The news comes as a grim reminder for Alberta, as residents in Fort McMurray just marked the anniversary of a historic evacuation in the northern Alberta city four years ago.