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expert reaction to the Canada wildfires

There have been reports of ongoing wildfires in Canada. Here is a comment from Professor Guillermo Rein in case useful.


Prof Guillermo Rein, Professor of Fire Science, Imperial College London, said:

“I read with despair about the massive evacuations taking place in Canada to escape the raging wildfires. An evacuation is the last resource a community has to avoid the loss of life. When other protection means have failed, like prevention, forest management, suppression and firebreaks, evacuation is the last option. Any evacuation requires difficult planning, complicated decision-making, and complex evolution.

“When all goes wrong, when dry vegetation is plentiful, there is wind, and previous forest management failed to reduce the vegetation load. The fire brigades cannot do much, and communities along the possible fire path must be evacuated with plenty of time to reach a safe place.

“The combination of heat, wind and high vegetation loads in the boreal forest is deadly. There have always been wildfires in Canada, but climate change is making them larger, faster, and harder to stop.

“The summer’s intense heat dries vegetation, making it flammable and faster to catch fire. A heat wave or a scorching summer leads to even more flammable forests.

“Strong winds greatly accelerate wildfire. The combination of wind and dry vegetation accelerates wildfires. They become walls of flames that ground crews cannot stop, and air tankers cannot slow down.”



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