The Prime Minister spoke about forest fires’ connection to climate change at a community affected by a massive evacuation due in part to climate change.
“The reality of climate change is that we’re going to see more and more extreme weather events and we need to make sure that as a country we’re properly equipped to deal with these challenges.”
Trudeau said he expects a better collaboration between all levels of government on resources, training and funding when it comes to fires.
Fast forward a few months to this week.
Responding to comments made earlier, Trudeau said May’s suggestion that the disaster was “very related to the global climate crisis” was neither helpful, nor accurate. […]
“It’s well known that one of the consequences of climate change will be a greater prevalence of extreme weather events around the planet,” Trudeau told reporters at a news conference.
“However, any time we try to make a political argument on one particular disaster, I think it’s a bit of shortcut that can sometimes not have the desired outcome. There have always been fires.
The Trudeau government was also advised when it was sworn in last November that wildfires were getting worse. The bureaucrats at Natural Resources Canada told their new minister, Jim Carr, that governments across the country hadn’t provided enough funding to help communities prepare for the worst.
The provincial, territorial and federal governments developed a Canadian Wildlands Fire Strategy in 2005, calling for “more resilient communities, improving fire management approaches to balance ecological integrity with protection of life and property, and implementing modern business practices.”
But Carr was told that governments didn’t invest enough money to support that strategy in the last decade.
“Governments remain supportive of the Strategy, but progress towards implementation over the past decade has been limited, primarily due to fiscal constraints,” said briefing notes, prepared for Carr.
“The frequency and severity of wild land fires have been trending upwards in the past few decades and summer 2015 was particularly severe. As a result, there have been calls from the public, communities and provinces for increased federal involvement in wildfire management.”
David Schindler, a University of Alberta scientist who studies the ecology of inland bodies of water, said there have been increasingly favourable conditions for forest fires in recent years. He noted that climate scientists have been predicting the increase in forest fires for at least a decade.
Despite the obvious drought conditions (we got almost no snow last Winter), the federal government wasn’t warning people of the extreme danger.
Wildfires briefing by mikedesouza
Hat tip to Daniel.