Canada’s fires are getting fiercer – and rebuilding is becoming a challenge

This year’s spring wildfire season has been the worst on record in Canada, with more than 5m hectares of land burned – a figure higher than the entire 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2022 seasons combined.

Canada’s climate means that the construction season is relatively short, and reconstruction is often complicated by the logistical challenges of bringing large crews to isolated communities. Wildfires also pose unique challenges, such as the way vinyl siding and plastics melt into the ground, turning the soil toxic.

“We just cannot keep this up. Disasters are getting larger and more costly. We’re hitting a point where we’re going to spend more on recovery than we are on building new construction in Canada. That’s the trend and we just can’t keep it up. Something has to happen,” McGillivray said.