An intense May means that it's going to be a big year for Canadian wildfires.
This article felt like it tried to stay neutral and look at both sides. That is appreciated! Ultimately, how we understand climate change, as it’s such a complex and difficult thing model accurately, remains key. It’s harder to see a way forward once any topic/issue becomes politicized. Thank you for your thoughtful forest fire analysis!
In the US the Forest Service has excised from the historical record fires (IIRC) prior to the 1970s. The trend since then is to lower acreage burned annually with some spikes in recent years, but not dramatically. However, if you rummage around, the fire acreages burned annually in the US are available back to the WW1 era when the average annual acreage burned through the 1920s and early 1930s was 10x the acreage burned annually in the past 50 yrs, which is one reason why the fire fighting divisions of the Forest Service were developed in the first place. It is not clear why the Forest Service elected to remove that information from their web site, although accurate surmises are easily made as to the reasons.
In Tucson, I get a weekly Fire Risk briefing they send to the various land and fire agencies. It breaks Fire Risk down into objective criteria:
Minimum Humidity - this is more critical. We desiccate
LAL - Lightening risk
Haines Index (HI) Is a numerical value that indicates the potential for large wildfires to experience extreme fire behavior. The HI combines both the instability and dryness of the air by examining the lapse rate between two pressure levels in the atmosphere and the dryness of one of the pressure levels.
Then Overall Risk for Critical Fire Weather Condition. Unfortunately I can't find a link at the National Weather Service
To what extent do more frequent, large fires cause more damage because they are harder to put out - especially do to lack of fire-fighting person-power? Lack of trained human labor has been cited as a cause for the increased damage from CA wildfires.
Thank you Hannah. It's also likely to be a bad year for fires in the West Coast provinces and states, especially from BC to California. The wet winter and spring has created a lot of fuel. For North America as a whole, this may be a record breaking year.
I suspect there are also studies that look at climate change and the frequency of lightning strikes. This could also be a factor, if not now then in the future.