The East Coast is still undergoing victimizing disasters due to the descension of the Canadian wildfires. With blanketing smoke, toxic ash filled air, and blurry vision, citizens of New York and New Jersey have seen brighter days. So how did these fires get out of control?
Let's take a look…
Canada’s wildfire season normally starts at the beginning of May, with smaller, more sporadic occurrences. Usually, from March to May, the regions that are undergoing the current fires: Quebec, British Columbia, Yukon, and parts of Ontario usually have mild temperatures and climate during those months with an average temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Moving into the summer months, that’s when the temperature increases to an average ranging in the 60s. This year has been a special case, with warming surface temperatures across the globe and the containment of GHG, drought has come to many regions across Canada. And when there is a drought, fires and other natural phenomena are likely to occur.
"The fire season is also lasting longer now because of climate change. Spring is coming weeks earlier and fall is coming weeks later. More time for the fires and grasslands to burn," stated Fellow at Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen's University in Canada, Edward Struzik.
Climate change has been causing major alterations to global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. Jet streams are the air currents that come off the ocean and flow through a specific region. Jet streams that occur in Canada come off the Pacific from the Arctic and the south, and travel through towards the East. The temperature and conditions of these streams are dependent on the ocean’s conditions, and because the Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the world, the streams coming into Canada have been warmer and weaker than previously seen. Stagnant heat creates heat domes, and without that usual break from a colder current, the result can be hotter weather and drought—setting up the stage for fires.
Forecasts of today hold little hope for the devastated areas. Canada is currently at a “level 5 national preparedness,” committing all national resources to mobilize against the fires. President Biden has sent over more than 600 firefighters, support vessels and personnel, and equipment to help combat the fires, deeming that the intensities of the climate crisis are the cause. Due to the ongoing drought and warming temperatures, Canada is set to see higher than normal fire activity across its country throughout the rest of its 2023 fire season.