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Canada in flames. This could be the ‘worst wildfire season on record’

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Canada has been ravaged by wildfires for weeks. Nearly nine million hectares of land have already been destroyed. The rulers fear that this will be the worst summer and the hardest fire season in the country’s history.

Canada’s meteorologists are on alert for heat and high humidity, and Emergency Minister Bill Blair warned on Thursday that this year could be Canada’s worst ever year for forest fires. Currently, there are 638 forest fires in Canada, of which 339 are considered uncontrollable.

High temperature string

Weather forecasts in Canada provide not only air temperature, but also an indicator that combines temperature with air humidity, i.e. the perceived temperature. In Toronto on Thursday, the felt temperature was around 40 degrees Celsius. Similar forecasts were made for the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

“Multi-day streak of high temperatures continues,” Environment Canada wrote in an alert on Thursday, warning of downpours and storms. “Hot and high humidity can worsen air quality, its index may approach high risk values” – it added. Canada has for many weeks air quality problemassociated with ongoing forest fires.

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“Indeed, 2023 unfortunately carries with it the special distinction of being the worst forest fire season on record,” Blair said at a news conference on Thursday. He pointed out that due to drought and above-normal temperatures, there is a risk that fires will continue for most of the summer, mainly in the north, in western Canada, Ontario and western Quebec.

There are currently 638 fires in Canada, of which 339 are considered out of control. Still more than 4.5 thousand people cannot return home after the evacuation. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 3,415 fires burning 8.8 million hectares of forest, Blair said. Firefighters from other countries and regions, including as far away as South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa, are helping to put out the fires.

“We are feeling the effects of climate change, Canada is experiencing more intense and frequent extreme weather events,” said the country’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam.

Fires in Canada. Photo from July 5, 2023Twitter/Alberta Wildfire

Prevent a disaster

In an analysis commissioned by the British Columbia government published a week ago by the Canadian Climate Institute, based on the dangerous heatwave of 2021, specialists estimated that 1,370 people could die of heat every year in this province alone by 2030, 6,000 hospitals sick, and heat-related health care costs will amount to 100 million Canadian dollars. “All regions of Canada will have to adapt to the changes or risk repeating the deadly and costly effects of the 2021 British Columbia heatwave,” the report said.

“Although extremely high temperatures cannot be avoided in the future, a catastrophe of the scale of 2021 need not happen” – it was emphasized. Among the methods mitigating the effects of climate warming, the installation of air conditioning was indicated, but at the same time planting plants on the roofs of buildings in cities and trees on the streets, educating employers, and at the same time designing roads, railways and energy systems in such a way that they are resistant to heat and downpours. Engineering changes alone could reduce damage by 80 percent by the end of the 21st century.

Main photo source: Twitter/Alberta Wildfire

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