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Canada natural disasters & climate 2023
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // May 29, 2023 // Canada, Natural Disasters // No comments
Emergency Preparedness – Disaster Survival Tips
Painting the Charlevoix
(30 June 2018)
Northern B.C., Alberta and all of Ontario under ‘high’ to ‘extreme’ wildfire risk: What to know
(CTV) Wildfires have burned more than2 million hectares of land across Canada so far this year, during what has been one of the earliest fire seasons on record.
According to the National Wildland Fire Situation Report, the fires in Yukon, B.C. Alberta, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are among the nearly 1,600 recorded so far this year.
Thousands evacuate as Nova Scotia fights wildfires
Fire risks high in Quebec as hot, dry weather intensifies
How wildfires are changing in Canada
There are fewer fires, but an increase in area burned and number of people displaced
The wildfires that have ripped through parts of the Maritimes and Western Canada this spring are part of an overall rise in more powerful fires, experts say. But the details behind this trend are more complex than just counting the fires, or damage done, per year.
Boots on the ground, eyes in the sky: satellites increasingly used to fight wildfires
(CTV) The last decade has seen a huge jump in the number Earth observation satellites, driven by cheaper technology and the entry of private industry.
One of the most useful readings from satellites is called fire radiative power, a measure of how much energy a fire is emitting. That tells fire managers where the hot spots are, where it’s most likely to advance and how quickly.
Knowing how hot a section of the fire is can also suggest how best to fight it, Flannigan said.
“You can tell if dropping water or fire retardant on that part of the fire would work or if you’d be wasting your time.”
What’s more, knowing how hot the fire is burning allows scientists to calculate what it is putting into the atmosphere. Forecasters use the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellites to figure out a vast range of emissions, from greenhouse gases to particulates to carbon monoxide.
A ‘Canadian Armageddon’ Sets Parts of Western Canada on Fire
Wildfires raging in Alberta and British Columbia have created a sense of panic and fear, and forced thousands of residents to evacuate from their homes.
(NYT) Climate research suggests that heat and drought associated with global warming are major reasons for the increase in bigger and stronger fires.
Amid frequent fire updates dominating national television news broadcasts, the blazes have also helped unite a vast and sometimes polarized nation, with volunteers, firefighters and army reservists from other provinces rushing in to lend a hand.
Canadian forest fires are the latest costly climate disaster that public accounts fail to capture
The advantages of fighting in-your-face effects of climate change simply don’t show up public accounts
You don’t have to tell the people of Calgary and other Canadian communities breathing orange air that forest fires have a cost.
And while repeated studies draw a direct line between an increase in costly forest fires and climate change, economists and accountants right up to Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer say the benefits of stopping climate change and thus reducing the many harms it creates are simply impossible to measure for public accounting purposes.
While federal budgets include all the costs of fighting climate change, the other side of the ledger, the notional income from the benefits of you not breathing smoke, or at least breathing less, remain blank. Since there is no benefit, it is harder to justify spending the money.
For Dave Sawyer, principal economist with the Canadian Climate Institute, the costs of climate change in our daily lives are obvious, including from the current forest fires.
“The particulate matter exposure and the air quality is serious,” said Sawyer on Wednesday. “There’s going to be a spike in deaths. There’s going to be a spike in morbidity outcomes, hospital visits, respiratory illness.”
Hotter, faster, more destructive: wildfire’s new reality (audio)
(CBC Front Burner) Author John Vaillant is watching it unfold with a terrifying comprehension of the science of these super fires and just how dangerous they can be. He has spent years investigating what happened in 2016 when parts of Fort McMurray burned to the ground. His new book, ‘Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast,’ explains why the fires we battle today are hotter, faster and more destructive than the fires of before.
He joins Alex Panetta for a conversation about the future of fire in our changing climate.
Shifting winds threaten to fan the flames of Alberta wildfires
Once sleeping giants, Alberta’s wildfires are threatening to show the full extent of their power.
High temperatures have been unrelenting in recent days and no rain is in the forecast. While temperatures will ease somewhat in the week ahead, the changing forecast is expected to bring new dangers.
As of Monday afternoon, 91 wildfires were burning across the province, both inside and outside Alberta’s forest protection areas. Of the 85 wildfires burning inside those areas, 23 are classified as out of control.
Heat wave challenges firefighters in B.C. as new wildfires prompt evacuations
Northeastern B.C. continues to see large wildfires burn out of control, as unusually hot weather challenges firefighters.
(CBC) The hot conditions are adding to extreme drought in the Peace region of northeastern B.C., where the biggest fires are burning. Additional firefighting resources are being dedicated to what is being called the North Peace Fire Complex, consisting of four large fires.
Chile’s firefighting goats protect a native forest from deadly blazes
(Reuters) – In the southern Chilean city of Santa Juana, hit hard by wildfires earlier this year, locals have a special taskforce helping fight blazes: a herd of goats.
The goats have already saved the native forest of the Bosques de Chacay once, preventing the park from being consumed by February forest fires. The technique, also used in Portugal and Spain, relies on grazing goats to control dry pastures and other vegetation that fuel forest fires in the summer. Goat droppings also help enrich the soil and prevent further erosion.
Government of Canada releases first national-level disaster risk assessment
/CNW/ – The rising frequency and severity of natural disasters is a growing concern. In recent years, Canadians have seen extreme weather events, like floods and wildland fires, destroy homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure, and leave lasting impacts on communities right across the country. As Canada and the world continue to experience these disasters, it is crucial to increase risk awareness across all sectors of society and to inform decision-making for reducing, preparing for, and responding to them.
Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, released the National Risk Profile (NRP), Canada’s first public, strategic, national-level disaster risk assessment. It provides a national picture of disaster risks facing Canada, and the existing measures and resources in our emergency management systems to address them. “The NRP is Canada’s first strategic, national-level risk assessment. This report is based on input and evidence from whole-of-society stakeholders across Canada, and provides a foundation for understanding disaster risk from the three costliest hazards facing Canadians: earthquakes, wildland fire, and floods. It aims to broaden public awareness of disaster risk, identify gaps in the Canadian emergency management system at a national level and provide evidence to support existing federal risk assessment and climate change adaptation efforts. This evidence base can help reduce disaster risk and increase resilience for everyone in Canada. ” The First Public Report of the National Risk Profile
Canada ill prepared for a major earthquake, new disaster risk profile warns
The first draft of a new national disaster risk assessment report warns that a major earthquake in British Columbia or parts of Ontario and Quebec could swiftly become the most costly natural disaster Canada has seen.
It says there are major gaps in Canada’s earthquake response plans, including limited information on the risks and how to prepare for them.
The national risk profile published Thursday morning is the government’s first attempt to identify the biggest threats Canada faces from natural disasters and to find ways to limit the possible damage.
Note: “An added note on the potential for earthquakes in the Montreal region: I was recently informed by a geologist, that there is a very dangerous situation in the Montreal area that I believe is called a, three way fault (the intersection of three different fault lines). In this case, the intersection of the Great Lakes, Ottawa and St. Lawrence River Faults…all of which ironically come together under the Field of Honour in Pointe Claire. (The Fukushima area in Japan was devastated by a three way fault that occurred under the sea some distance from shore some years ago).” J.A.
Forest fires: North America’s boreal forests are burning a lot, but less than 150 years ago
Victor Danneyrolles, Professeur-chercheur en écologie forestière, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC); Raphaël Chavardès, Postdoctoral fellow, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT); Yves Bergeron, Professeur écologie et aménagement forestier, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)
(The Conversation) Unseasonably hot and dry weather conditions in early May 2023 led to dozens of forest fires in western Canada. As of May 6, the Alberta government declared a state of emergency over wildfires, and at the time of writing this article, nearly 30,000 people had to be evacuated. Although it is too early to establish a precise assessment of this extreme episode, recent research allows us to place it in a broader context.
The results of our research contradict the common wisdom about North American boreal forests — that they burned more in the past than they do today.
What causes a forest fire?
Scientists have been asking this question for a long time. Thanks to research carried out in the last few decades, the answer can now be summed up by three factors: vegetation, weather, and triggers.
Ontario sends crews to help wildfire-besieged Alberta
Forty Ontario-based firefighters were sent to Alberta Saturday to help battle blazes across the province, along with four task force leaders and two command officials, according to centralized data.
They were joined by firefighters from Quebec and firefighting aircraft as Canadian wildfire responses coalesce behind local crews in wild rose country.
The information comes from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), a non-profit organization owned and operated by Canada’s national and provincial wildland firefighting agencies. It exists to coordinate responses to emergencies like the one in Alberta.
Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre
CIFFC is a not-for-profit corporation owned and operated by the federal, provincial and territorial wildland fire management agencies to coordinate resource sharing, mutual aid, and information sharing. In addition, CIFFC also serves as a collective focus and facilitator of wildland fire cooperation and coordination nationally and internationally in long-range fire management planning, program delivery and human resource strategies.
Close to 30,000 people now displaced as Alberta continues battling wildfires
Evacuations grow as province gets help from B.C., Ontario and Quebec
A change in weather conditions has helped firefighters fight the wildfires that have forced thousands of Albertans to flee their homes this past week, officials from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency and Alberta Wildfire said Sunday.
“Today we’ve seen some light scattered showers in the southern part of the province, as far north as Fox Creek. The good news is that it did have an impact on fire behaviour today in that area,” Christie Tucker, information unit manager with Alberta Wildfire, told an afternoon news conference in Edmonton.
“It allowed firefighters to get a chance to work on the areas of some wildfires that they haven’t been able to get close to because of extreme wildfire behaviour.”
While the province is battling fires using air tankers and helicopters, Tucker said the change in weather conditions has been most beneficial to firefighters on the ground.
Flooding forces hundreds of evacuations as Quebec towns declare states of emergency (See drone footage)
People have had to leave their homes and roads have been washed away in the Charlevoix region of Quebec.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes and several towns have declared states of emergency after torrential rains spiked river levels and led to widespread flooding in Quebec.
At least three municipalities are under a state of emergency Tuesday after flooding caused by heavy rain: Baie-Saint-Paul, which is located about 100 kilometres northeast of Quebec City in the Charlevoix region, as well as Saint-Côme and Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie, which are in Lanaudière, north of Montreal.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) recorded about 56 millimetres of rainfall in Baie-Saint-Paul, Monday.
The Lanaudière region, northeast of Montreal, was also hit hard by flooding.
Parts of several towns and villages, including Saint-Côme, Chertsey, Rawdon and Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie, were overwhelmed by rising waters.
Several roads flooded in the Laurentians, north of Montreal, threatening to cut off emergency access to some areas.
The Lac-Théodore area in Val-Morin was one such area. Residents there were in danger of being cut off entirely as access roads flooded. Town officials urged residents to leave their homes, warning that those who decided to stay would be cut off from emergency services.
Part of this centuries-old Quebec farm has been swallowed, maybe permanently, by the river
Farmers in Baie-Saint-Paul are tallying the losses after this week’s deluge
The fields that had been ready for another season of wheat, corn or oats are now covered with sand and clay.
… Unsure if he can recoup his losses, Méthot is one of the farmers in the region left reeling from the flooding and heavy rainwaters that hit the region on Monday.
Not only will this hurt his bottom line, but Méthot says the weather event could threaten Charlevoix’s agricultural scene — a part of the region’s heritage.
Méthot was drawn to to the Charlevoix region by its agricultural history and its renowned cheese, meat and milk products. He says now, that has “eroded away.”
“Agriculture is important in itself but that’s bigger than just agriculture. It’s part of the heritage of Charlevoix. It represents what Quebec is, in the hearts and minds of a lot of people. When you drive around, when you look around, when you taste [products],” said Méthot
Before the flood, Baie-Saint-Paul, Que., was best known for art. Now local artists are picking up the pieces
Devastating damage happened just weeks before tourist season set to start
Everist Prokofiev, an artist and gallery owner in Baie-Saint-Paul, says he moved to the region from Ontario 13 years ago because of the art scene.
“Baie-Saint-Paul is such a mecca for art and has been for almost 100 years,” said Prokofiev. “So with something like this happening here in Baie-Saint-Paul, it’s sad and it’s kind of nerve-wracking because their season is about to start.”
Carrying art from 15 Canadian artists in the gallery, once the news got out about the flooding, Prokofiev said he started fielding calls from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Although no art was damaged, he suspects the flood will cost him thousands of dollars.
“We could not get insurance for water damage of any kind,” said Prokofiev, adding that his property is along a floodplain.
2023 Canada ice storm
On April 5, 2023, the 2023 Canadian ice storm devastated Quebec and Ontario, knocked out electricity for more than a million people, resulted in fatalities, and severely damaged property and infrastructure.
Two dead, over a million without power after ice storm hits Canada
(Reuters) – Two people died and more than a million were without power on Thursday after an ice storm hit Canada’s two most-populated provinces ahead of a holiday weekend, bringing freezing rain and strong winds that toppled trees and weighed down power lines.
Just under a million people did not have power in Quebec and about 110,000 in Ontario as of 4 p.m. (2000 GMT), according to Poweroutage.com. Outages combined for both provinces had crossed at least 1.3 million earlier in the day.