Alberta Wildfires - What you should know
At SERVPRO of Calgary South we have had our fair share of experience with Alberta wildfires. Wildfires are nothing new to Alberta, on average over 1000 wildfires happen each and every year. Wildfires are a natural event and an important step in the life-cycle of our ecosystem. But human intervention has increased the frequency and severity of Alberta wildfires. Most often the flames occur in unpopulated areas and they rarely affect humans in the way Fort McMurray was affected in 2016. In 2018 alone there was almost 1300 wildfires, which is below our 5-year average of around 1400 (this number is skewed slightly by the large influence of 2016). On average humans are responsible for 65% of wildfires, while the remainder is attributed to lightning. Human causes can range from recreational fires, house fires, and the power line industry. Also in 2018, 59,809 Hectares of land was burned. I know the average person (myself included) is unfamiliar with a hectare but that equates to almost 120,000 Canadian Football Fields of land burned. Below are a few resources to help familiarize yourself with wildfire safety.
Alberta Wildfire has all the information you need about the current status and location of wildfires and can inform you of local fire bans or burning restrictions.
The Government of Canada website uses the Air Quality Health Index to judge the quality of the air we breathe. Even though Canada’s air is constantly ranked one of the cleanest in the world (due to municipal, provincial, and federal governments teaming up to limit emissions) there are still days we the smoke from wildfires can be too much. For example in May 2019, Calgary faced days of 10+ when the average is around a 2.
A few Alberta 2018 Wildfire Facts:
- 97% of all reported wildfires were contained within 24 hours.
- On June 22nd, 2018 113 wildfires were reported in 24 hours.
- Alberta had almost 700 firefighters from other provinces and the US come to our aid.