While here in Montreal we're thick in the midst rainy season, the west coast of Canada has already managed to reach high to extreme levels of wildfire danger. There have been fires burning in British Columbia that started this weekend and have continued until today.
In maps seen below, the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System has made note of areas in Canada that have reached risk levels that are concerning so early in the season.
Canada is also not the only place that has seen such extreme and early signs of a frightening summer in terms of wildfires. Mexico City was forced to issue an environmental emergency due to the frighteningly low air quality this weekend as they continue to fight wildfires in the area.
The map above shows the national threat levels today, May 15th, 2019. The yellow zones indicate areas that have "moderate to vigorous surface fire with intermittent crown involvement." Yellow zones also present challenges for ground crews to handle and other equipment like tanker trucks or aircrafts are required to contain fires.
The ochre-coloured zones are privy to "high-intensity fire with partial to full crown involvement." These fires often present conditions that are "beyond the ability of ground crews" and inevitably require air attacks with a retardant to fight the fire.
The map above shows the Fire Weather Map for Sunday, May 12th, 2019. Evidently, this weekend posed a higher Fire Danger on the west coast. Red Zones represent areas that are at risk of "fast-spreading, high-intensity crown fire."
Fires in these areas are very difficult to control and suppression is "limited to flanks," and only indirect actions" are possible as an effort to fight the fire's head.
The areas highlighted above did, in fact, suffer wildfires in the past couple days, as the photo above shows. Kamloops was prey to more than one fire in various areas over the course of the last couple days.
While Canada's west coast is seeing wildfires cropping up already, the extreme fire danger also extends to the Prairies and the Yukon. Global News is also reporting that Alberta currently has 26 active fires, including one that has been "classified as out of control."
Fire Danger, as per Natural Resources Canada, is a "relative index of how easy it is to ignite vegetation, how difficult a fire may be to control, and how much damage a fire may do."
Mexico City was also forced to declare an environmental emergency this Tuesday as the smoke from ongoing wildfires caused air pollution so bad it surpassed World Health Organization standards.
According to the online publication EcoWatch, measurements of "particulate matter" surpassed the WHO recommended level by five times as the air was "thick with smoke" since Saturday, May 11th.
It seems that climate change has presented another reason for us to get our shit together. Here's hoping it happens before a massive fire takes us all out like King's Landing.