“Until recently Forest fires in Canada They did not send plumes of smoke over the densely populated cities around the Great Lakes region and along the East Coast“for the United States of America,”Few people in those cities had experienced the eerie orange haze of wildfires or the temporary rise in fine particulate matter and the pervasive smell of smoke. Understandably, many people reacted anxiously. We urbanites usually watch fires on television, usually alongside footage of firefighting crews and firefighting planes valiantly trying to put them out, creating the impression that they are somewhat unnatural occurrences that must be avoided at all costs. In fact, wildfires are not alone naturalbut Essential to the life cycle of a forest ecosystemThis is what he wrote in the Financial Post editorial. Ross McKittrick, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Guelph and Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, which deals with the issue of wildfires in Canada and the relationship with Climate change.
“Unfortunately, politicians, journalists and climate activists were quick to exploit this extraordinary event by imposing their ideas. They have made many superficial claims that Climate change Make fires more common. For example, Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted: “We are seeing more and more of these fires due to climate change.” This statement is bloomer“McKittrick explains. “Amidst the smokescreen of false claims, no one seems to have bothered to look up the numbers. Data on Canadian wildfires is available at the Wildland Fire Information System. Fires became Less frequent in Canada within the past 30 years. The annual number of fires grew from 1959 to 1990, peaking in 1989 at just over 12,000 that year, and has been declining ever since. From 2017 to 2021 (latest range available) there were approx 5,500 fires per year, Half of the average from 1987 to 1991“, the expert continues.
“Me too’The annual area burned peaked in 30 years. It grew from 1959 to 1990, peaking in 1989 at 7.6 million hectares before falling to its current average of 2.4 million hectares annually during 2017-21. And 2020 saw the lowest point ever, with only 760,000 hectares burned. Records show the percentage of fires that occur each year Larger (more than 200 ha in area) peaked in 1964 at 12.3%. From 1959 to 1964, it averaged 8.7%, then fell to 3.4% in the early 1980s. In the 2017-21 range, it rose again to 6.0%, but is still well below the average 60 years ago.McKittrick continues.
“Globally, satellite data from the European Space Agency also shows that wildfire activity has been on a downward trend over the past few decades and is now approaching lowest since records began in the early 1980s”Highlights.
Fires and climate change
“In extensive discussion on the Royal Society Blog 2020McKittrick continues,British forest experts Stephane Doerr and Christina Santin acknowledge that climate change can make fire conditions more favorable in some areas, but they also point out that it is leading to reductions in others. As for the tendency of some fires to become larger and more dangerous, this can be traced back to our approaches to forest management. policies [molto] They explain that aggressive fire suppression practices throughout most of the 20th century removed fire from ecosystems where it was a major part of the landscape renewal cycle. This resulted in fuel accumulating in the form of wood debris posing the risk of more explosive and unstoppable fires. “We cannot completely remove fire from the landscape,” they stressed. “This is the misconception that has led to ‘100% fire suppression’ policies in the United States and elsewhere, and that in many cases has only exacerbated matters.”
As environmental studies professor Roger Belk Jr. points out on the minor subject, even the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is reluctant to link wildfire activity to climate change. While it notes an increase in “fire weather” (the hot, dry conditions that lead to wildfires) in some regions globally, it claims no “indication” of the effect of greenhouse gases currently on the probability of fire weather, and we don’t expect to detect one in the next century. “The expert continues.
“When it comes to climate change, we are constantly told to “follow the science.” However, the same people making this claim regularly make claims about wildfire trends, both in Canada and globally, and the relationship to climate change. Science tells us that wildfires haven’t become more common, and the average area burned peaked 30 years ago. It also tells us that we can do a better job of reducing the risk of catastrophic fires, if we are willing to put in the effort.”McKitrick concludes.
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