Canada to Face Another Catastrophic Wildfire Season

April 11, 2024 Hour: 8:47 am

On Wednesday, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault warned that Canada is likely to face another catastrophic wildfire season this year, after the staggering wildfire season of 2023.


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“Extreme weather events are becoming far too familiar to Canadians as the impacts of climate change hit our communities. It is a stark reminder that we need to work together to reduce the risks from our changing climate to keep Canadian communities safe,” he said.

“It is impossible to predict the summer that lies ahead of us, but what is clear is that wildfires will represent a significant challenge for Canada into the future as the impacts of climate change continue to intensify,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan said, adding that the costs to Canadians are growing every single year.

This winter, Canadians experienced warmer-than-normal temperatures and widespread drought conditions across the country, adding to existing drought and low-water conditions.

The latest seasonal weather outlook indicated that higher-than-normal temperatures are expected for the spring and summer, boosted by El Nino weather conditions, setting the stage for the possibility of another active wildfire season and other incidents of extreme weather.

The warmer-than-normal winter temperatures and drier-than-usual conditions may result in some regions, in particular western Canada, eastern Ontario, and southern Quebec, experiencing early, above normal, fire activity this April and May.

Canadian Finance Ministry announced Wednesday that Budget 2024 will propose doubling the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit and the Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit, which will save volunteer firefighters up to US$658 per year.

This increase will particularly benefit rural communities where firefighters are most often volunteers, and they are confronting increasingly more frequent wildfires due to climate change, the ministry said in a news release.

The announcement also includes US$122 million over five years in new funding in support of First Nations emergency management and preparedness as many First Nations communities are especially vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters, the ministry said.

According to the Canadian National Fire Database, there were 7,131 fires recorded nationally in 2023, burning a total of 17,203,625 hectares, the highest ever recorded with the previous record being set in 1989, or 7,597,266 hectares.

Mobilizations were also very high with 7,311 international and domestic personnel mobilized. About 230,000 people were evacuated from their communities.

Government of Canada analysis showed that climate-related impacts are costing average Canadian households US$526 per year today and will rise to around US$1,462 dollars per year by 2050. In 2023, Canada’s severe weather caused over US$2.3 billion in insured damages.

Autor: teleSUR/ JF

Fuente: Xinhua

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