Watch Canada’s worst wildfire season travel east to west

More than 17,800,000 hectares have burned across Canada so far in 2023, marking the country’s most devastating wildfire season on record.

According to the National Wildland Fire Situation Report, as of the end of September, this year saw a staggering 6,496 wildfires spark — an increase of over 20 per cent compared to the country’s 10-year average.

While the numbers are shocking in and of themselves, it can be hard to visualize the damage that these fires have inflicted.

One Nova Scotian man, however, has compiled data from NASA and created a video of Canada’s 2023 wildfire season.

Peter Atwood’s creation shows the destruction from early on in the fire season up until Oct. 14, mapping the fires’ move from coast to coast.

Atwood explains on social media that to create the rendering, he used “GEOS-FP black carbon mass composited over the MODIS hotspot data.”

Over the course of this year’s wildfire season, four firefighters died fighting wildfires in B.C., Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.

International firefighters from the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Dominican Republic, South Korea, and Colombia flew in to help local firefighting crews.

In August, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson described 2023’s wildfire season as “historic, with more intense fires in more parts of Canada than ever before.”

“It is certainly the case that wildfires have always occurred across Canada. But what is new is the frequency and the intensity. And the science is very clear here. The root cause of this is climate change. That is why this year as wildfire season has been so destructive.

“It is showing us what the future will increasingly look like if we do not take action to reduce emissions. It has shown us the costs and failure to act will bring to our health our environment and our economy and our communities,” Wilkinson said.

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