The 2015 wildfire season was one of the busiest on record, Alberta Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier says.
“There was not a lot of snowpack through the winter, so we had a particularly dry spring. and especially in the spring and summer, there was not a lot of rain, either, and there were a lot of lightning strikes,” Carlier said Friday, after thanking fire crews at the Alberta Wildfire provincial warehouse in Edmonton.
“It was a bit of an anomaly. It was one of our busiest wildfire seasons in 25 years. It was even busier than the one in 2011 when there were some tragedies in Slave Lake, but this one had even more fires on a larger scale.”
Wildfire season: By the numbers
1,786: Number of wildfires in 2015. It’s the third-highest number in the past 25 years.
64: Number of fires over 200 hectares in size. The 25-year average is 19.
492,000: Number of hectares burned. That’s twice the 25-year average.
2,904: Albertans hired as emergency firefighters.
1,128: Additional firefighters were brought in from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico.
236: Number of firefighters loaned to other parts of Canada and the United States to fight fires late in the season.
11,235,000: Litres of retardant dropped by air tankers. That’s more than enough to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools.