Canada is experiencing its worst wildfire season of the 21st century.
There are 672 wildfires currently burning across Canada.
By 2050, Canada is expected to see wildfire burn area double, as droughts and extreme heat caused by climate change intensify.
Here’s what Canada’s wildfire seasons and air quality looks like in maps. (Maps are updated daily.)
The current active wildfires across Canada
This year is the worst year for wildfires on record.
Air quality health index across Canada
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a scale from 1 to 10+ that provides an indicator of the health risk related to air quality and can be found on the Environment Canada website or provincial environment ministry sites. Canada’s WeatherCAN app can send alerts about what to do when the air quality is poor.
There are growing concerns about how to grapple with the long-term health impact of worsening air quality. Experts advise higher-risk individuals to take immediate steps to protect themselves when the risk level of the AQHI increases. According to the index, levels of 4 to 6 are considered moderate risk and vulnerable individuals are urged to reduce or reschedule outdoor activities. Levels of 7 to 10 are considered high risk, and anything above 10 is considered very high risk.
Staying inside with doors and windows closed and using an air filter can reduce inhalation of fine particulate matter. If no air filter is available, an air conditioner can also be used to reduce some of the fine particles in the air. If people have to spend time outside, such as those who work outdoors, high-quality masks can help.
Annual area burned in Canada
2023 is the worst wildfire season on record, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).