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OTTAWA - While Western Canadians are facing another potential record-breaking year for forest fires, it’s looking like things will remain status quo for the Atlantic provinces.
Federal fire officials provided a forecast for the forest fire season this week, and thankfully for Atlantic Canada, average conditions are predicted to prevail for the duration of the summer.
“What average means is that there are still going to be fires, lots of fires potentially, but nothing that would be considered unusual,” Brian Simpson, wildland fire manager with the Canadian Forest Service told SaltWire.
Simpson said fires need hot and dry conditions to form, and but Atlantic Canada’s wetter climate offers some protection against the destructive blazes that have shown up in other parts of the country and across North America.
“There should be the normal amount of precipitation [this year] and therefore not really conditions that are conducive to extreme fire,” he said.
“Having said that, in any summer there are likely stretches where it's going to be dry for a few weeks at a time and when that happens there can certainly still be fire and there could be significant fire, it's just not expected to be out of the ordinary.”
Smaller fires are quite common, but most people rarely hear of them unless they live in the area or they become large enough to make the news. Simpson said there have already been 73 forest fires in Nova Scotia, 90 in New Brunswick, 37 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one in PEI since the season started.
Western Canada, however, is expecting another big year for fires.
“This will would be five years in a row, six years in a row of really significant fire which is really unusual ... for B.C. they've had two record breaking years in a row which is crazy, and the forecast looks like there might be a third,” Simpson said. “Definitely climate change has already demonstrated an effect.”
Simpson is asking all Canadians to keep in mind that fires have two main causes, human and lightning, and urges people to monitor conditions and be careful when engaging in activities that could cause a fire.