In Western Canada, fire season comes early by American standards — beginning, usually, right around now. In Alberta, by today’s date, only about 1,000 acres have burned in recent years. This season so far, the total is already more than 1.5 million — which would make it the province’s third-worst annual result, just a few weeks into May, with months more of wildfire season still to burn.
In the United States, by contrast, those who live in fear of wildfire are probably breathing a bit easier. Last year was a relatively light one, with fewer than eight million acres burning across the country — close to the two-decade average and well below the damage of several especially scarring recent seasons. This year looks potentially even milder, thanks to the onslaught of “atmospheric rivers” along the West Coast, which many Californians experienced as extreme weather whiplash but which also supercharged the state’s depleted snowpack, turned millions of drought-browned acres
This article was written by David Wallace-Wells and originally published on www.nytimes.com