The provincial government of Alberta defines a “wildfire of note” as a blaze that could “pose a threat to public safety, communities or critical infrastructure.” Last year, Alberta’s first wildfire of note broke out unusually early, on April 30th, near the tiny town of Entwistle, about sixty-five miles west of Edmonton. A second wildfire of note was recorded that same day, in the town of Evansburg. Four days later, an astonishing seventy-two wildfires were burning, and three days after that the number had grown to a hundred and nine. Some thirty thousand people had to be evacuated, and Alberta’s premier declared a state of emergency. “It’s been an unusual year,” Christie Tucker, an official from the province’s wildfire information unit, observed at the end of the week.

Elizabeth Kolbert

Read full article in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert

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