Wildfire season is in full effect in Alberta, and it’s here a full month early.
That’s according to fire research scientist with Natural Resources Canada Dr. Kerry Anderson.
While the dry conditions contribute to fires across the province, Anderson says all it takes is one good rainfall to make things better.
“Just something that dumps 150 mm of rain, one of those really cold low situations and fire season could be brought to a screeching halt.”
Wildfires can spread quickly, especially in tinder-dry conditions. Anderson says people may know to put out campfires and cigarettes, but there are more ways to spark a wildfire.
“It’s not just carelessness like throwing cigarette butts out, but it could be trains, train wheels throwing sparks off the wheels. Even hot mufflers on all-terrain vehicles could be just enough to throw that spark out there.”
But despite the threat fires pose to humans, Anderson says they’re actually good for the forests.
“The boreal forest, which covers most of Canada is a fire dependent forest, it needs fire to help perpetuate itself. Indeed pine cones need the heat of a forest fire in order to loosen up the saps and allow the seeds to be released.”
Anderson says the dilemma lies in balancing the ecological needs of the forests with the safety of Canadians.