Drought, heat raise risk of repeat of last summer’s record-breaking wildfires

Persistent drought and months of above-average temperatures have raised the risk of a repeat of last year’s record-breaking wildfires.

Federal officials say conditions are already ripe for an early and above-normal fire risk from Quebec all the way to British Columbia in both April and May.

But Michael Norton, the director general of of the Northern Forestry Centre at Natural Resources Canada, says in the spring the main risk factor is humans.

While lightning becomes the main source of wildfires in the summer, most spring wildfires are started accidentally by people.

The 2023 fire season was Canada’s worst on record, burning more than 15 million hectares and forcing more than 230,000 people from their homes.

In response to a request from Canada’s fire chiefs, Ottawa says it will double the tax credit for volunteer firefighters from $3,000 to $6,000.