Researchers determined that the extreme summer temperatures during the 2017 British Columbia forest fire season were made over twenty times more likely by human-induced climate change. Extreme high temperatures combined with dry conditions increase the likelihood of wildfire ignition and spread. (Photo BC Wildfire Service)

Study finds human impact played major role in 2017 wildfire season

1.2 million hectares burned in 2017 set a record, only to be surpassed in 2018

Human influences played a major role in B.C.’s 2017 wildfire season and significantly increased the risk of wildfires, says a study by research scientists from the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The study, which compared two scenarios in climate simulations – one with realistic amounts of human influence on the climate and one with minimal human influence – found that the extreme summer temperatures during the 2017 B.C. forest fire season were made more than 20 times more likely by human-induced climate change.

RELATED: B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

Researchers found that the extreme high temperatures combined with dry conditions increase the likelihood of wildfire ignition and spread.

The 1.2 million hectares burned in 2017 set a record – only to be surpassed in 2018. Through their research, the scientists concluded that the area burned was seven to 11 times larger than would have been expected without human influences on the climate. The scientists also found this is a trend that is likely to intensify in the future, without further action.

RELATED: Ignoring climate change poses potential catastrophe for B.C.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the extreme 2017 forest fire season in B.C. caused 65,000 people to be displaced from their homes, and millions to be exposed to smoke-filled air harmful to human health.

“As the climate continues to warm, we can expect that costly extreme wildfire seasons – like 2017 in B.C. – will become more likely in the future. This will have increasing impacts on many sectors, including forest management, public health, and infrastructure,” said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, research scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Retiring Vancouver Island University president reflects on more of a decade of leadership

Ralph Nilson has been president of VIU since the change from Malaspina University College in 2007.

Are you ready for a safe adventure

Ambassadors breaching outdoor safety around Vancouver Island

Oak Bay student takes aim at national contest with project on Jimmy Chicken

Heritage project tells story of First Nations man who lived on Mary Tod Island

Reduce the risk of financial abuse for seniors

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15

Editorial: Attention to small actions can prevent forest fires

The summer is heating up, and many people have been excited about… Continue reading

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Most Read