Record Wildfire Season in Canada

Over 4 million hectares of Canadian land (10 million acres) have burned so far this season, setting it on pace to be the worst in the nation’s modern history. Out-of-control fires in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia have stretched firefighting resources thin, with the Canadian Armed Forces, Europe and U.S. sending resources to help.

The province of Nova Scotia just battled the largest wildfire in history, with 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) burned and flames 100 meters tall (330 feet). In Quebec, 160 fires have displaced 10,000 people as firefighters still battle to get them under control. In the western province of Alberta, over 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) have burned, another record, with 10,000 people returning from evacuation orders. Dozens of homes have been destroyed, with property damage still being assessed across the country.

Smoke from the wildfires have affected air quality across North America, with New York City and the state of Utah being particularly affected.

Climate change? Unseasonably high temperatures and a dry winter are partially to blame. In Alberta, there is evidence that some of the fires were deliberately set. According to the prime minister and mainstream media the main cause has been climate change.

Despite the fiery rhetoric, the data does not support this narrative. “In fact, as average atmospheric temperatures have risen from 1970 to 2017,” writes the Fraser Institute, “Canadian forest fires have declined sharply in number and show little obvious trend in areas burnt.” So what is driving this record-breaking season?

According to a 2020 study by the Progress in Disaster Science: “A major barrier in Canada … is the inadequate funding to support the vision of an innovative and integrated approach to wildfire management. … Despite the increasing occurrence of wildfire disasters in Canada, funding to support wildfire prevention, mitigation and preparedness have not kept pace with the increasing need to mitigate the impacts from wildfires, and be better prepared when they do arrive.” The government has partially caused the physical conditions ripe for a historic fire season due to mismanagement and neglect.

Real root cause: Wildfires and other natural disasters are a consequence Canadians’ lifestyles. The Bible reveals that God controls the weather and that severe weather events are used by God to draw attention to our sins (Amos 4:7; Deuteronomy 28:17). Canada is burning because we have forsaken God.

Read more: Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?