Canada's historic wildfire season abates after 45.7 million acres razed
The big picture: Thousands of people have been displaced and all 13 of Canada's provinces and territories have been impacted by the unprecedented wildfire season — with blazes reaching the boreal forests ringing the Arctic and in peatlands, which function as natural sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2).
- Canada's wildfires have not only threatened lives and properties, they've also caused greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions to surge to historic levels during a national disaster worsened by climate change.
By the numbers: Several provinces have experienced a record year for fire. These include British Columbia (7 million acres burned) and Quebec (12.8 million acres destroyed), which both more than doubled their previous records
- Experts have expressed concern that El Niño, which is currently rated as strong and forecast to intensify further, could bring a second straight hot summer and another challenging wildfire season next year — though not as "exceptional" as 2023, per CBC News.
- Professor Mike Flannigan, director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at the University of Alberta, told the outlet it's difficult to forecast for 2024. "But if next year is going to be a warmer year, I would expect that the dice will be loaded. Odds are, it'll be an above-average year [for fires]."
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.