…The Washington Post recently declared, “It’s Canada’s worst fire season in modern history.” But the key term is “modern history.” Because while the people of 2023 are unaccustomed to seeing summer skies obscured by wildfire smoke for weeks on end, pre-industrial North America actually spent an awful lot of its time on fire. …When B.C. and the U.S. Northwest were hit by a particularly active wildfire season in 2020, scientists at the USDA determined that 2020 was actually the first “normal” fire season the region had seen in more than a century …The clouds of smoke now descending on cities in Central Canada and US may seem like a uniquely modern plague, but they were pretty standard for the communities of pre-industrial North America. …This is not to say that warming temperatures aren’t having an effect on wildfire season. …If human-caused rising temperatures are causing more wildfires, however, the primary effect is to undo another human-caused phenomenon of artificially having fewer wildfires.