Experts predict 'average' wildfire risk this season
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019 3:58PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:10AM MDT
Officials at the Canadian Forest Service are predicting an average wildfire risk for most of Alberta this year.
“After the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, frankly a year that brought a little less fire would be a huge relief to Canadians,” said Mike Norton, director general at the Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton.
“From Alberta east, our best forecast right now is that fire conditions across much of the country will be at or perhaps even slightly below average.”
However, in western parts of Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon, there is a higher risk.
“That part of the country has been significantly challenged and may be again this year,” Norton said.
Seasonal wildfire forecasts are completed on a monthly basis, something officials said can change quickly.
“All it takes is one significant rainfall event like in 24 hours we could go from extreme conditions to quite manageable conditions,” said Norton.
“The build the other direction towards more severe conditions does take more time, and so it doesn’t, the general increase in fire risk doesn’t happen just overnight.”
The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System monitors and provides fire information as well as fire risk across the country.