‘Perfect storm’ of heat, dryness fuel western Canada’s extreme wildfires

Diana Stralberg, a researcher in Edmonton for the Canadian Forest Service, explained that human-caused climate change is making the fire season longer and causing “extreme fire weather conditions” to occur more often.

“Although fire is a natural, forest-renewing process, more frequent fires, as well as fires followed by droughts, can interrupt regeneration of conifer trees” and lead to a withdrawal of wooded areas in favor of grasslands, the climate specialist told AFP.

Little by little, the forest is being nibbled away, with direct consequences for dozens of species of migratory birds and caribou.

“Modeling of future fire and vegetation conditions has shown that, in Alberta, up to 50 percent of upland boreal forests could be at risk of conversion to grassland systems by the end of the 21st century under high-end warming scenarios,” said Stralberg.