Forest fires are the norm in Canada

Forest fires are the norm in Canada

It turns out that this fire season is not the first or even the most destructive.

Lately, the Canadian media have been flooded with news about forest fires and the damage they have caused. Hundreds of people and wildlife have been left homeless and forced to migrate to neighbouring areas. Hectares of forest were affected, and smoke from the fires filled the atmosphere and even reached the United States. It seems as if this is the first such disaster in Canada, but it is not at all. Scientists and firefighters remind us that wildfires are a regular occurrence in this country.

Forest fires of varying magnitude occur every year in Canada. The most devastating recent disaster was in 2016. Then 80 000 people lost their homes and had to evacuate to neighbouring provinces, and dozens were killed or injured.

Canadian ecologists, environmental officials, and firefighters have been studying and analyzing fires since the beginning of the last century. The good news is that they have learned how to reduce the damage from such incidents. Despite the damage to the economy and natural resources, firefighters, doctors and officials are working in concert to save as many people and animals as possible. Canadians themselves are doing right by nature: since the 1980s, the number of man-made fires has dropped by a factor of three. And the Canadian land will eventually recover from their impact, as it always has.

But there are also negative changes that do not depend on the will of people. There are fewer fires, but they cover more area. This is due to climate change. It's warmer in Canada now, summer comes earlier, and trees dry out faster and ignite more easily. More than half of the fires this year were caused by lightning, which is also more common in warmer climates. This is one of the reasons why maple-leaf country is trying to fight global warming. The warmer it gets in Canada and the earlier the hot season comes, the more wildfires there are.

Scientists admit that the old methods of fire prevention no longer work. Now it is necessary to use new ones. For example, to monitor the condition of trees and to eliminate all withered ones in order to prevent fires. Controlled fires will be used to destroy large areas of dry forest. This is an old Canadian indigenous method. It helps with less bloodshed and prevents large fires, and also the land covered with ashes becomes very fertile.

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