Canadian Wildland Fire Information System

National Wildland Fire Situation Report

Archived reports

Current as of: August 15, 2018

Current active fires
Uncontrolled Controlled Modified Response
279 247 161
2018
(to date)
10-yr avg
(to date)
% normal Prescribed U.S.
Number 5,955 5,164 115 46 43,255
Area
(ha)
1,183,358 2,428,823 49 2,029 2,307,667

Fires of note

As of August 15, there are 450 fires burning in British Columbia, of which 195 are out of control. The province has declared a state of emergency. Thirty evacuation orders are in effect across the province, affecting more than 3000 people. Approximately 19,000 people are under evacuation alerts and must be ready to evacuate on short notice. A total of 3370 personnel are supporting wildfire management operations. Smoke from fires in BC and Washington state has reduced air quality and visibility in most of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. A total of 171 personnel are working on the 35,000-hectare Alkali Lake Fire, which damaged 27 buildings in Telegraph Creek. The town and surrounding area remain under evacuation orders. The largest fire in the province is the 50,000-hectare Shovel Lake Fire, which is burning north of the Yellowhead Highway near Fraser Lake. More than 200 personnel are working to contain the fire. Fire activity in Ontario has slowed over the past week due to rain, allowing fire crews to make progress in holding or containing all priority fires. There are still 35 fires burning in the province, of which 16 are out of control.

Interagency mobilization

The national preparedness levels are at 5 in both Canada and the United States, indicating that available fire control resources are insufficient for the current level of fire activity. British Columbia is at level 5, Ontario at level 4, and Alberta at level 3. Personnel and equipment from across the country, as well as USA, Mexico and Australia, have been mobilized to British Columbia and Ontario.

Weekly Synopsis

Canada has recorded 5,955 fires so far this year, which have burned 1,183,358 ha. New fire starts totalled 345 in the last week, with 70% of these new fires due to lightning. Area burned over the last week totalled 318,000 hectares. The number of fires so far this year is 15% above the 10-year average, but the area burned is well below average (49%). The forest floor is dry and prone to lightning strikes in a C-shape along the 60th parallel to the Nunavut/Northwest Territories border, south through British Columbia, and east along the 49th parallel to Lake Superior. Smoke from fires in western Canada is affecting air quality between British Columbia and western Manitoba, prompting advisories by Environment Canada. A zonal flow is providing rapid west-to-east air movement, with weak features likely to generate spotty showers or thundershowers in a few regions. The most critical area is dry southern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta, where possible lightning with little rain over the next two days could add to the fire load. A low passing through southern Nunavut pushing against a surface high over the Ontario/Quebec border are combining to increase wind across Manitoba and western Ontario; this could contribute to fire growth in that region. A trough in eastern Canada is generating showers or thundershowers across the Atlantic Provinces.

Prognosis

A simple fire weather scenario exists for the next few days, although it does not provide any relief for the fire activity in British Columbia. A zonal flow is quickly moving weak disturbances across the country, with thundershowers possible in a few locations, including southern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta, where new fires could add to the load. By the weekend of August 18-19, a ridge rises along the Pacific coast, prolonging the dry weather in British Columbia and forcing cooler air southeast into central Canada. While this may direct some of the smoke south into the USA, a greater chance of thundershowers occurs, some of which could start a few fires, notably in southern Manitoba and Ontario west of Lake Superior. Dry air follows to cover the western two-thirds of the country. Atlantic Canada remains moist with showers passing through every two or three days.

Current graphs

Note: For provinces, PC = Parks Canada

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