Heading into this weekend, the wildfire situation is rapidly evolving in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia.

At the time of writing this on Friday, the entire city of Yellowknife, N.W.T. (population: about 22,000) is under an evacuation order, with residents leaving by road and via airlifts as wildfires burn near the city.

British Columbia has declared a provincewide state of emergency due to wildfires, including an aggressive fire in the Kelowna area, where homes and a resort have been destroyed.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Andrew Weaver, a professor researching climate at University of Victoria, writes about how the Yellowknife and Kelowna fires are burning in what is already Canada’s worst forest fire season on record.

Professor of disaster and emergency management Jack Rozdilsky from York University discusses the need for culturally appropriate support services for fire evacuees, drawing upon his research into the 2016 Fort McMurray, Alta. wildfire.

We also have a story about how, for the first time in the United States, youth won a climate lawsuit in Montana this week, upholding their right to a clean and healthy environment.

Below, I have also included the latest stories from our global network about the deadly wildfires in Maui and Hurricane Hilary, which has triggered California’s first-ever tropical storm watch.


Lisa Varano

Deputy Editor

Weekend reads

Yellowknife and Kelowna wildfires burn in what is already Canada’s worst season on record

Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria

The devastating wildfire that destroyed the historic Maui town of Lahaina was still making headlines when Yellowknife issued an evacuation order.

Yellowknife fires: Evacuees will need culturally specific support services

Jack L. Rozdilsky, York University, Canada

As the mass evacuation of Yellowknife unfolds, the needs of minority populations will emerge. Past experiences indicate emergency officials may not be ready to meet the needs of a diverse population.

Montana youth win unprecedented climate case: What does this ruling mean for Canada?

Jason MacLean, University of Saskatchewan

An unprecedented win for climate justice in Montana has the potential to send reverberations around the world, including here in Canada.

Hawaii’s climate future: Dry regions get drier with global warming, increasing fire risk − while wet areas get wetter

Kevin Hamilton, University of Hawaii

Projections for Hawaii’s climate future are raising concerns about fire risk, ecosystems and freshwater supplies for homes and agriculture.

Hurricane Hilary triggers California’s first tropical storm watch ever, with heavy rain and flash flooding forecast

Nicholas Grondin, University of Tampa

Forecasters are warning of a destructive storm for Mexico and the US Southwest – with El Niño, a heat dome and the mountains all playing a role.

Yes, climate change is bringing bushfires more often. But some ecosystems in Australia are suffering the most

David Lindenmayer, Australian National University; Chris Taylor, Australian National University; Maldwyn John Evans, Australian National University; Philip Zylstra, Curtin University

Fire frequency is increasing in all ecosystems studied. But in some places, fires were occurring so often it put entire ecosystems at risk of collapse.