Record Canada Wildfires Blamed On…

July 25th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Our friends to the north in the sovereign republic of Canuckistan are experiencing record wildfire activity. At least in northwest Canada, where it has been unusually hot and dry.

Four days ago things were getting pretty bad, as seen in this NASA MODIS image (click for large version):

NASA MODIS image of western Canada and the northern U.S., July 21, 2014.

NASA MODIS image of western Canada and the northern U.S., July 21, 2014.

By yesterday, the smoke from the fires had spread to the Great Lakes (yes, here comes that Canadian pollution again):

As in previous image, but for July 24, 2014.

As in previous image, but for July 24, 2014.

Of course, experts quoted in the news dutifully blamed it in climate change. According to Alaska Dispatch News,

Canadas senior climatologist, Dave Phillips, says the southern Northwest Territories is experiencing the hottest, driest summer in some 50 years.

The extremely hot dry weather in the interior and north of British Columbia is now contributing to the spread of a number of fires in that west coast province.

Phillips adds the kind of weather seen this year is what global warming modeling predicted for 40 years from now.

Now, wherever it is hot and dry where vegetation exists, we can expect above normal wildfire activity. But the hot and dry conditions in the west are almost always matched by cool and wet conditions in the east, which is what we have seen in recent months.

It makes no sense to talk about above normal activity in one area, and ignore below normal activity elsewhere, when claiming a link to climate change. It is intellectually lazy and verges on incompetence.

Another cold front will be pushing all the way to the Gulf coast by next Wednesday, producing more record low temperatures, as see in this graphic:

GFS model minimum temperature anomaly forecast for Wednesday  July 30, 2014 (

GFS model minimum temperature anomaly forecast for Wednesday July 30, 2014 (

Anytime this happens (which is rare this time of year, at least here in Alabama) you can virtually guarantee hot and dry weather over western Canada and the western U.S. It’s called “weather”.

106 Responses to “Record Canada Wildfires Blamed On…”

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  1. Edward Brown says:

    El Nino comes to mind. And the 1911 big burn – US name, was much worse. 😱

  2. John W. Garrett says:

    When it comes to climate, the media and the general public, I am always reminded of Mark Twain’s observation:

    “In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

    In respect of the media’s coverage of climate, I can only remark that it’s enough to drive a sane person mad.

    Dr. Spencer, I marvel at your ability to remain calm in the face of such repeated balderdash. You have my thanks and gratitude for all that you have done to prevent the U.S. from behaving even more stupidly than it already has.

  3. Christopher Game says:

    I don’t know about the situation on the ground in America, but here in Australia I have a little knowledge.

    For some 40,000 years (give or take a historical range of error) the indigenous people have routinely and continually burnt off excess bushfire fuel in many many small fires. The native animals can escape, and the bush (I think an American would perhaps call it forest?) regenerates from it, some species being unable to grow without the heat of a bushfire to open their seed pods.

    Since European settlement, the practice has been continued by the local country people. This is recognized fire prevention and it used to work well. People looked after their own country.

    But now this is controlled by central government authority and politicians. The Greens and left-wingers have saturated the relevant bureaucracies. The powers have been removed from local people, and preventive burning is severely stifled by the bureaucracy. The result is that we now have very terrible very large very hot fires from which the animals cannot escape and which kill the seed instead of just opening the seedpods, and kill even hundreds of people. Scorched earth in spades.

    I hardly need say that of course the Greens and left-wingers say “Oh, this is caused by global warming!”

  4. MRW says:

    You better blame it on the pine that they have not removed. Pine, according to the rangers, are “gasoline” for forest fires. Also, any forests in Northern Alberta grew up drinking oil. It comes out of the ground; it’s inside the trees.

  5. Robertv says:

    The Yin and Yang of weather.

  6. James Strom says:

    “Phillips adds the kind of weather seen this year is what global warming modeling predicted for 40 years from now.

    Wouldn’t this tend to reduce one’s confidence in modeling?

  7. lance says:

    I was in the Kamloops area last week on vacation, and the smoke was very thick. Then we finally got a wind change and the smoke went away (elsewhere)…..
    As for ‘climate change’ ….bull….i remember as a kid growing up in BC many years of very smokey summers in the 60’s/70’s…Phillips needs to retire…he is blowing just smoke.

  8. DD More says:

    Canadas senior climatologist, Dave Phillips, says the southern Northwest Territories is experiencing the hottest, driest summer in some 50 years.”

    So is it ‘climate change’ or ‘climate change back’?

    When looking for what the fire situation was back in the 1960’s in the NWTs, came across this.

    In recent years the LFDB has been expanded to include all large fires back to the start of record-keeping for all Canadian agencies. In some cases this extends as far back as 1918, but a continuous national record is only available from the 1950s when statistical record-keeping began in Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories.

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  10. Rick Adkison says:

    Displacement of the Polar Vortex?

  11. coturnix says:

    As a currently canadian resident I wish there were more global warming, if co2 can do it we should put more of it into the air. The summer has so far been very nice here in alberta.

    • coturnix says:

      just had a heatburst from a line of thunderstorms with temperature rising to +29C in the middle of the night… now that is some nice global warming.

  12. Threepwood says:

    But of course record cold and snow is also seriously claimed as evidence of ‘climate change’ along with any other notable weather event, while any boring weather is a meaningless anomaly. the entire theory exposes itself as fundamentally unscientific by being completely unfalsifiable by any evidence.

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