Early Start to Wildire Season No Surprise Says Prof
Prince George, B.C. – The fact this year’s wildfire season has arrived about three weeks early should come as no surprise.
That from Dr. Phil Burton, professor of ecosystem science management at the University of Northern British Columbia.
“We’ve been seeing that trend for the last 15-30 years really. I’ve seen some statistics where we’re even finding fires in the southern half of the province as early as February.”
So what does he attribute it to?
“It’s consistent with the general trend of a warming climate, of climate change. The advent of the snow free period is one of those key indicators that is very sensitive – much like glacial retreat – to the overall changes over large areas.”
He suggests there’s room for better planning in helping deal with the issue.
“We knew that this was going to be a strong El Nino year as far back as last September. So if agencies can plan to allocate resources when they know we’re going to have a mild winter with a low snowpack and an early snow melt, that might help.”
Burton contines: “A certain degree of awareness needs to be “the new normal for residents, for residents and for forest managers. So heads up everybody.”