Alberta Burning


The Fire Next Time — Here and Now.

With Spring just begun in the northern hemisphere, wildfires now spread from the Canadian province of British Columbia to Alberta, and across central and eastern Russia, a leading European climate agency reports. 

The latest fires — over a hundred in total, thirty of them out of control — have driven thirty thousand Albertans from their homes, and have released plumes of smoke that now drift across Canada to the Canadian Maritimes and US eastern seaboard.

Photochemical reactions generate ozone within smoke plumes, toxic to human lungs and vegetation.

In the first four months of 2023, Alberta wildfires have also released an estimated 5 megatons of Earth-warming carbon, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service reports.

Wildfires are no oddity in the northern boreal region. Indeed, they play a crucial role in forest ecosystem development.

But, as Earth warms — by an estimated 1.2 degrees C, since the start of the industrial era — wildfires are becoming more common and fierce, and they’re happening earlier than ever before in the fire season. Will politicians respond? Keith Stewart is hopeful.

The GPM spoke with Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada.

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