Wildfire season in Nova Scotia (Canada) typically begins in Mid-March. Throughout the past 5 years, there have been between 110 and 190 wildfires per year in total. Last year, more than 3000 ha of land was burned through fires. April and May are amongst the months with the highest numbers of fires in the region. Therefore, fires during this time of the year are not uncommon in that region.
This week, parts of Nova Scotia face severe and incredibly serious wildfires. Strong winds make them hard to control. Striking numbers show how severe the situation currently is: There have already been 188 reported wildfires this year. Mainly due to the current forest fires, the burned area's size has already increased to 10,000 hectares in total this year - and there is still no end in sight for the forest fire season.
Several wildfires have emerged throughout multiple counties for the last couple of days. Especially the Halifax Regional Municipality and Shelburne County are affected, where evacuation measures and warnings have been initiated. Fires in Westwood Hills and at Barrington Lake are still not under control. Satellite images (see video) show smoke and haze rising steadily from the massive fire located at the southern tip of the peninsula. Remember that the image of the smoke cloud may disappear during local nighttime.
Wildfires have a strong influence on the air quality and particle concentration in the atmosphere. Our Particulate Matter (first screenshot) and Air Quality (second screenshot) maps show a prominent red “hotspot” in south Nova Scotia - speaking for highly polluted air.
In times of climate change, the risk of wildfires may rise, depending on the location. To minimize the economic, ecological, and social consequences, advance planning and preparation is essential. Our climate risk assessments make it possible to estimate potential climate-related risk for your location of interest, considering extreme weather events and their consequences for the future.
Last but not least, we wish the best for everyone that is affected by the fires in Nova Scotia.