Forest fires covering 8,200 hectares of land in northern Alberta continue to burn out of control, spurred on by extremely dry conditions and unseasonably warm temperatures. The fires have forced the evacuation of hundreds of oilsands workers, the irony of which is not being lost on many (just check out the reactions to this CBC article).
“Climate change during the 21st century is expected to result in more frequent fires in many boreal forests, with severe environmental and economic consequences,” said a 2014 Natural Resources Canada post
About 10 per cent of Canada’s oil output — amounting to about 233,000 barrels a day — has been shut down since Monday, May 25, due to the fires. The Bank of America Merril Lynch warned in a research report that if wildfire disruptions persist, there could be a 0.1 to 0.3 per cent hit to second-quarter annualized growth.
An increase in the number of forest fires is likely to make one of the world’s most costly fossil fuel sources even more labour intensive and expensive.