Well before a record-setting deluge of smoke had come and gone from Alberta’s capital city this summer, a new provincial precedent had already been set. By June, officials noted that wildfires had burned through more than one million hectares. …By the end of the official wildfire season, the 2.2 million hectares burned surpassed the benchmark set in 1981, when 1.3 million hectares were left charred. …The forestry and parks ministry said the scope and severity of this year’s wildfire season cannot be attributed solely to an increase in arson, even though it said the proportion of fires determined to be set on purpose has nudged upwards. …This year, 8.4 per cent of all wildfires were categorized as arson, which is slightly above the previous five-year average of 7.8 per cent, according to the forestry ministry.