COVID-19 Could Reduce Wildfire Risk This Season, Says Expert


Humans account for up to 80 per cent of Alberta’s wildfires in May, but that’s likely to change this year as public health measures keep people at home.

COVID-19 may cause a drop in spring wildfires as people are still being asked to self-isolate throughout May, Alberta's riskiest fire month, says a University of Alberta expert.

“Since we’re still staying at home in May, there are fewer people recreating or working in the forests and human-caused fires will be reduced,” said wildfire scientist Mike Flannigan. “Over 80 per cent of Alberta’s wildfires in May are started by humans.”

Potential ignition sources like campfires or sparks from recreational vehicles will be less likely to set dry, winter-killed vegetation on fire.

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Image via University of Alberta