The 2018 fire season in Canada has begun, and Natural Resources Canada’s wildland fire researchers are forecasting much of Canada having above normal fire risk. Multiple climate models suggest most of the nation will have above normal temperatures, with some regions also experiencing drier than normal conditions. They stress, however, that while conditions in these areas may be conducive to widespread or intense fire behaviour, fire events depend on lightning or human ignitions occurring and under suitable conditions.
Dry winter conditions in southern Manitoba have lead to spring fire activity. A rapid change from winter to summerlike conditions in the remainder of the Prairie Provinces and western Ontario may cause a gradual increase in fire danger before summer arrives. Long-range forecasts suggest that the wildland fire season may peak in July and August with warmer than normal temperatures, with national fire danger decreasing in September as temperatures return to their seasonal averages. Areas affected include provincial lands around and west of James Bay, and the Northwest Territories south of Great Bear Lake, while conditions in Yukon and northwestern British Columbia remain close to normal.
Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service (CFS) provides maps of daily fire weather and fire behaviour and monthly seasonal fire severity forecasts through the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System website (http://cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/home).
The seasonal fire severity forecast maps are revised monthly to reflect the latest weather data and forest conditions. This information is used by the provinces and territories to help with their wildland fire preparedness activities, including planning firefighting resources. Canadians refer to the daily fire danger maps to ensure they can conduct their work and leisure activities in a safe environment.