Canadian wildfires’ connection to climate change

8 Jun 2023

If you live in parts of Canada or the Northeast US, you’ve probably noticed the poor air quality over the last couple of days. The culprit is Canadian wildfires, which this year are vast and still spreading.

Canadian wildfires have been especially bad this year, as over 1400% more acres have burned compared to the average amount for this time of year. So far, that has added up to more than 8.7 million acres, which is a larger area than the state of Vermont. According to Canada’s natural resources agency, by the end of the century the amount of land burned could double.

While wildfires are a natural phenomenon, climate change contributes to worsening conditions like heat and drought that make them more severe. Furthering the issue of air pollution, climate change also causes changes to rainfall and weather patterns that allow pollutants to sit at ground level.

Poor air quality can cause damage to the heart and lungs and weaken the immune system. Segments of the population like children, older adults, those who are pregnant, and those with preexisting conditions are especially vulnerable. If you’re in one of the areas affected by poor air quality, be sure to limit your time outside and/or wear a mask!

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