Just six days in to the northern hemisphere summer of 2023, the skyline in New York City was stained in a sepia smoke haze from what became Canada’s most widespread fires in history. The 2023 Canadian wildfires razed 18.5 million hectares of land — nearly triple the previous record. They released huge quantities of carbon stored in trees and soils into the atmosphere, which some researchers now estimate to be equivalent to 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. The estimates are still preliminary with an error of roughly “plus or minus 20 per cent”, according to Senior research scientist Werner Kurz who, who up until his recent retirement, led the National Forest Carbon Accounting System for Canada. …But with that much CO2 pumped into the atmosphere, have these megafires contributed to climate change themselves? …”But the bottom line is, having such huge emissions is another greenhouse gas that is eating away at our carbon budget,” Dr Kurz said.