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Experts say wildfires make climate crisis impossible to ignore

A water bomber makes a pass over the wildfire in southwest N.S. (Source: N.S. Government/Twitter) A water bomber makes a pass over the wildfire in southwest N.S. (Source: N.S. Government/Twitter)

As wildfires continue to burn across Canada causing poor air quality on the east coast and south of the border, some experts say the climate crisis is impossible to ignore.

“I would like to indicate that climate change has been triggering diverse extreme events, wildfires are only one type of disasters,” said Dr. Haorui Wu, Canada Research Chair in Resilience and an associate professor at Dalhousie University's School of Social Work.

Wu says drought, flooding, hurricanes and heat waves in the summer, and winter storms and extreme low temperature in winters, are becoming more normal.

“With accelerated climate change, Nova Scotia has already experienced increased extreme events, for example, hurricanes have become the annual events. It is expected that wildfires will be increased as well. If not, other extreme weather events (e.g., flooding and drought) would become more frequently,” he said.

Newfoundland and Labrador currently has four working water bombers in its fleet, which are helping fight the fires in Canada.

A fifth water bomber is currently undergoing repairs.

The planes are helping douse the flames in Nova Scotia, a province that doesn’t have any water bombers of its own.

“The Department is continually assessing its needs and making recommendations, as part of its regular course of business. At the moment however, our sole focus is on fighting the wildfires,” said a spokesperson for the province.

Wu says although it is not nice, disasters provide a great opportunity to raise the local residents’ awareness for disaster and emergency management.

“Raising awareness is the first step so that the residents could use different ways to prepare for the disasters. For example, they might develop a family-based emergency plan. They might also reach out to their local MPs to pursue the political interventions,” said Wu.

Wu thinks water bombers should be available for emergency response, and is hoping the government will look at improving evacuation strategies.

For More Nova Scotia news, visit our dedicated provincial page.

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