High heat, risk of fires predicted this summer for Nova Scotia

By Natasha O'Neill

After a record breaking summer last year, Halifax residents are bracing for higher temperatures that could bring more wildfires.

In the summer of 2023, Halifax and the surrounding area battled smoke filled days and huge blazes that destroyed homes. The early summer fires in Halifax were precedent for the continued high temperatures felt across the country.

This year, officials are preparing for the possibility of a worse wildfire season.

On Tuesday, Environment Canada released it’s seasonal outlook, that highlighted “higher-than-normal” temperatures are expected, especially for Canada’s East Coast.

“Above-normal temperatures are expected for the Prairies, but the probability isn’t as high as out east,” meteorologist Jennifer Smith, told The Canadian Press.

The map forecasts temperatures for June, July and August across the country. It shows a 100 per cent probability of higher-than-normal temperatures for Nova Scotia. Provinces past Manitoba the probability falls.

Coastal British Columbia and Yukon are the only parts of Canada that are expected to be normal temperatures.

This comes a day before the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) held a press conference on the upcoming wildfire season.

In it’s press release, the CIFFC focused on the ongoing fires out west and in southern Northwest Territories. Although the outlook predicts more fires are expected as the summer continues, it did highlight less land had burned than this time last year.

In June 2023 more than 46,000 square kilometres burned, this year about 5,200 square kilometres has burned.

However, the press release did stress that June could bring more potential for fires including “portions of Atlantic Canada.”

Environment Canada climatologist Nathan Gillett said climate is already taking effect. Temperatures have risen since 1948, he said.

“Warming has been observed from coast to coast in summer,” he said. “The human-induced warming explains almost all the observed warming.

“The signal of climate change on warming in Canada is clear.”

With files from The Canadian Press’ Bob Weber.

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