N.B. firefighters head to hot, dry Western Canada

Smoke from forest fires in Western Canada drifts south deep into the USA, 29 June 2015 (NASA)

Smoke from forest fires in Western Canada drifts south deep into the USA, 29 June 2015 (NASA)


Hundreds of forest fires are burning in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories thanks to recent warm, dry weather and smoke is being carried south well into the United States this week thanks to a big dip in the jet stream.

New Brunswick has sent at least 34 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources to help out in Western Canada since the season to date here has been very quiet.

At least 5,000 people from several northern Saskatchewan communities have been evacuated due to the fires and the Red Cross says they are being housed at several shelters across the province.

Advertisements

Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories 2014

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

Each year Environment Canada compiles a list of the ten most significant weather events across the country and the following is how 2014 shaped up:

1. Canada’s Long Cold Winter – While much of the country shivered under cold and snowy conditions, Southeast New Brunswick was actually rainier and slightly warmer than normal.

2. Summer Flooding in the Eastern Prairies – Too much rain too fast over too many days led to extensive flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

3. Wildfires in the West and Northwest – Exceptional warmth and dryness led to an abundance of wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

4. The Nightmare Before, During and After Christmas – A series of snow and ice storms in late 2013 and early 2014 left thousands without power for days from Ontario to Atlantic Canada.

5. Summer – Hot on Coasts, Cool in Centre – While British Columbia and Atlantic Canada enjoyed above normal temperatures, it never really got that hot or hazy in Ontario.

6. Hurricane Arthur – The first hurricane of the Atlantic season in early July packed a punch in the Maritimes with hundreds of trees toppling over on power lines leaving many in the dark for days.

7. Alberta Hailstorm – A series of thunderstorms in early August moved across Southern Alberta producing tennis to baseball-sized hailstones and covering the ground like snow.

8. Powerful December Storms on Coasts – Three storms in rapid succession battered the Pacific coast while an East Coast deluge delivered 150 mm of rain in Greater Moncton over two days and caused extensive flooding.

9. Ontario Tornadoes – The province recorded 19 this year with the worst twister in Angus near Barrie on 17 June which damaged more than 100 homes after peak wind gusts up to 220 km/h.

10. Snowtember in Alberta – The so-called snow event brought summer-like temperatures to a screeching halt on 07 September when upwards of 40 cm of snow fell on Calgary and region over the next three days.

Northern fires create poor air quality

Forest fire smoke envelops Yellowknife, NWT, 16 August 2014 (Twitter)

Forest fire smoke envelops Yellowknife, NWT, 16 August 2014 (Twitter)

More than 50 forest fires are currently listed as out of control in the Northwest Territories during what has become a summer of fires.

The blazes have scorched more than three million hectares of land and have created drifting smoke which has meant poor air quality in numerous communities including the capital of Yellowknife.

Smoke from the fires has also been carried southeastward by the jet stream to Ontario, Quebec and the Northeastern United States keeping daytime highs lower than normal.

Commercial fishermen also say the fires have dramatically raised temperatures in rivers and streams leading to a scarcity of fish.

Northern fires keep southern temperatures down

Smoke
Winds are carrying smoke from forest fires in British Columbia, the Prairies and the Northwest Territories into Ontario and the Northeastern United States.

Forecasters say the smoke is even lowering temperatures by several degrees which has explained why Central Canada and the eastern Great Lakes region have been experiencing lower than average temperatures so far this summer.

The jet stream has been carrying the smoke but officials say it is moving at such a high altitude that air quality will likely not be affected in the region.