In 2019, Alberta experienced the most destructive wildfire season it’s had in nearly 40 years.
Here’s a look at the potential role of climate change and how you can help your province prevent forest fires.
A CHANGING CLIMATE
Greenhouse gas emissions are causing Canada to warm twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to a national climate assessment report released in 2019. In addition to a rising average temperature, Canada’s climate will continue to experience a variety of changes in the coming decades, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of weather extremes, droughts and wildfires.
THE THREAT OF FOREST FIRES
In 2016, during the region’s driest and second-warmest spring in 72 years, Fort McMurray was threatened by a wildfire that ravaged roughly 5,000 square kilometres of land. This natural disaster, the most expensive in Canadian history, is just one recent example of a familiar threat exacerbated by climate change.
There are three ingredients of a destructive wildfire: fuel, ignition and weather. Climate change has a direct impact on all three of these factors. Warmer weather dries out vegetation more quickly and thoroughly. All of this dried-out plant life acts as fuel that helps fires start more frequently and burn for longer.
Additionally, climate change increases the frequency of hot, dry and windy conditions as well as lightning storms, one of the primary causes of wildfires. Shorter and warmer winters also lengthen the fire season, which already starts a month earlier than it used to in Alberta.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
In 2019, more than 70% of the wildfires in Alberta were caused by humans. Here are a few preventive measures you can take to help reduce the risk of forest fires in your community.
Respect local fire bans and restrictions
Never leave a fire or embers unattended
Keep enough water nearby to promptly extinguish a fire
Water and prune your trees and shrubs regularly during the summer
Clean up fallen leaves, branches and other debris in your yard
Hire a professional arborist to remove dead or diseased trees from your property
PROFESSIONAL ARBORIST SERVICES IN ALBERTA
At All Season Tree Service, we take forest fire prevention very seriously. For more information or to schedule a tree removal in the Edmonton area, contact us today. Together, we can protect and preserve Alberta’s forests and our communities.