According to Alberta Wildfire, the province saw 1,288 wildfires in the 2018 season, which burned close to 60,000 square hectares. As of Thursday, it reported, the province has seen 230 wildfires in Alberta’s forest protection areas, burning an area of about 625 hectares.
According to a report in the Edmonton Star, Glenn McGillivray, managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) said even though the season isn’t in full-swing, it’s not too early to be on guard.
“Some people have the perception that May is way too early to get a wildfire, but it’s actually classic wildfire season in Canada,” he said, citing the massive blaze that devastated Fort McMurray in May 2016, and the Slave Lake fire that burned a third of the town the same month in 2011.
But it is too early for a forecast of Alberta’s 2019 season explained Edward Johnson, a biological sciences professor at the University of Calgary.
Before wildfire season proper, he said, there’s a transitional period that runs from late-April until about the end of May — a spring window between the snow melt and the rain that leaves the southern edge of the boreal forest dry and susceptible to sparks.