More than 1 million acres burned so far
Canada is on track for a near-record wildfire season this year. So far, there have been more than 500 fires just in British Columbia, burning across more than 1 million acres. Firefighting costs have already reached more than $172 million, and weeks of warm and dry weather will keep the fire danger high.
Most of the fires have been in three main areas, according to NASA, which has been tracking the burned areas via satellites. Most affected are the Frasier Plateau north of Vancouver, the Thomas Plateau, east of Whistler, and the region east of Kamloops.
All current fires of note can be viewed on this interactive map. According to NASA, this is the third-worst fire season on record for B.C.
Current weather forecasts project that winds will carry smoke from the fires toward the coast, perhaps persisting for a week. New research led by scientists with Georgia Tech recently showed that wildfire smoke is probably much more dangerous to human health than previously realized.
Naturally burning timber and brush from wildfires release dangerous particles into the air at a rate three times as high as levels known by the EPA. The study also found wildfires spew methanol, benzene, ozone and other noxious chemicals.
NASA’s Terra satellite collected this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument on July 31, 2017. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from the BC Wildfire Service, and the Georgia Tech study.