Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Are BC Wildfires Evidence of Climate Change?

Since 2003 we have seen a significant shift in the area burned in BC wildfires.   Is this evidence of climate change?   It seems the most plausible explanation of what is going on.

To note on the graphs below:
  1. Steam trains caused a lot of fires in BC and were phased out in the 1950s
  2. The 1958 season was dramatic and part of that was the Kech fire which burned about 270,000 hectares
  3. Wildfire fighting technology improved rapidly from the 50s though to the 80s.   A lot of fires were caught early and extinguished



Here is a table of area burned by year going back to 1920 which is the first year there is relatively complete data

Year Total Hectares
2016 98,462 - season not year over
2015 280,445
2014 369,169
2013 18,259
2012 111,645
2011 12,604
2010 337,149
2009 247,419
2008 13,240
2007 29,440
2006 139,265
2005 34,588
2004 220,518
2003 265,053
2002 8,539
2001 9,677
2000 17,673
1999 11,581
1998 76,574
1997 2,960
1996 20,669
1995 48,080
1994 30,310
1993 5,183
1992 30,453
1991 24,709
1990 75,783
1989 25,380
1988 11,482
1987 33,850
1986 17,260
1985 236,252
1984 19,908
1983 67,378
1982 348,663
1981 106,593
1980 65,578
1979 29,447
1978 50,081
1977 3,796
1976 57,020
1975 24,911
1974 21,728
1973 33,422
1972 26,087
1971 351,890
1970 105,688
1969 164,688
1968 13,519
1967 99,016
1966 177,268
1965 62,833
1964 3,135
1963 18,756
1962 18,461
1961 115,667
1960 285,820
1959 110,735
1958 835,848
1957 66,724
1956 190,060
1955 18,896
1954 4,172
1953 15,368
1952 61,677
1951 170,354
1950 343,274
1949 58,902
1948 155,544
1947 57,775
1946 122,780
1945 142,811
1944 204,831
1943 38,381
1942 180,710
1941 62,681
1940 198,297
1939 19,730
1938 78,292
1937 288,057
1936 22,196
1935 176,904
1934 19,372
1933 258,464
1932 122,005
1931 170,790
1930 402,646
1929 243,889
1928 368,103
1927 43,913
1926 67,035
1925 414,305
1924 162,767
1923 63,778
1922 634,772
1921 59,017
1920 157,762

British newsreel footage of the 1958 fire season in BC

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