Wildfires rip across Canada as heat wave smashes temperature records

By Evan Bush
NBC News
May 18, 2023
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

High temperature records fell by the dozen this week as western Canada continued to suffer in a prolonged, scorching heat wave.  About 90 wildfires, spurred on by unusually high temperatures, continue to burn in Alberta. Smoke blanketed the province in unhealthy air and dipped across the border into the U.S., according to satellite photos. The heat wave pattern — described as an “omega block” by meteorologists — resembles in some ways the record-breaking heat event in Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest in June 2021, which killed hundreds of people. The intense spring wildfires in Alberta are reminiscent of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, which is considered one of Canada’s costliest natural disasters. “This is a very unusual pattern. We often don’t see these types of patterns set up this early in the year. We see these patterns in the summer,” said Terri Lang, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

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