by P Gosselin
Arson likely at play…images for shock journalists
Unusual weather situations are always the hour of attribution researchers these days. Canada is suffering from forest fires again this year. The reason is the persistent drought. According to a study, climate change has doubled the likelihood of forest fires in Canada:
Extreme wildfire conditions in Canada have been fueled by intense, spatially extensive and persistent fire-conducive weather conditions, known as fire weather, which has been observed since the beginning of May throughout the country. Canada has experienced its warmest May-June period since 1940, beating the previous record set in 1998 by a huge margin (0.8°C). At the national scale, relative humidity was also very low. The warm and dry conditions, together with continuous southeasterly winds fueled extensive fire spread in Alberta, British Columbia, central Saskatchewan and southwestern portions of the Northwest Territories.
There are at least 17 direct fatalities linked to the fires, more than 150,000 people have been evacuated, and at least 200 structures, including homes, were damaged in the fires (AP News, 2023). The Canadian wildfires have severely impacted air quality locally in Canada, and in the neighboring United States with Air Quality Index (AQI) values frequently exceeding safe levels in the Midwest and northeast USA, and in some cases approaching record levels (e.g. on June 7th AQI reached 341 in New York City, considered hazardous for all residents) (CNBC, 2023). Similarly, in southern Ontario, including the cities of Ottawa and Toronto, air quality reached the ‘very high risk’ level forcing officials to cancel public events and reduce hours for outdoor public services. Schools remained closed for several days in many states, including Nova Scotia, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.”
Trend defies alarmist claims
But the country’s official wildfire statistics do not show this suspected trend. Statista lists them. Strictly speaking, the trend in the number of fires is actually decreasing until 2022. For 2023, the numbers will rise again to August 23, 2023 almost 6,000 fires were counted. But that will still be below the 2006 figures.
Now the study does not say that the number of forest fires has doubled, but the probability. That’s different, of course, but it’s hard to grasp, because in the end it’s the fires and the damage they cause that count. In the case of Canada, there are aggravating circumstances. Unlike in Europe, forest fires there can have natural triggers, i.e. lightning. This does not exclude arson, but broadens the sources of ignition.
A CBS report puts the number of natural causes at 50%. Jörg Kachelmann already assumed deliberate arson in June 2023 in the Kölner Stadtanzeiger. At that time it burned in the east of the country and the smoke went as far as the USA.
Kachelmann also assumes humans are the cause of the increased number of wildfires in eastern Canada. He tweeted a satellite image of the fires on the east coast, showing the individual sources of fire. Within an hour, there had been fires in more than ten places, Kachelmann wrote. Thunderstorms could not be considered as the cause of the fires, because this did not correspond to the weather situation at that time.
Kachelmann assumes deliberate arson and says it was also clear at the time where the smoke would travel, namely to the East Coast of the United States. ‘I have never seen such a mass arson and it is very intriguing,” Kachelmann commented further.’”
He even suspected arson to create certain images in the media. The ZDF reports in its foreign news “Auslandsjournal” about the fires and lets Zeke Hausfather come to word. He also mentions the last 3 La Nina years, which would have delayed an increase in warming. This is noteworthy because such natural climate forcings do not appear in many reports. Hausfather describes a mix as emissions by humans and such forcings as a combination. The program can be seen until November 23,2023 in the ZDF-Media archives.