Another Climate Apocalypse Prediction Goes Up In Smoke

Over the past couple months, academic and government scientists in Canada -- as well as a provincial premier -- have raised the alarm over how climate change is leading to increasing threats from forest fires.

This led me to perform a simple task: examine the Canadian National Forest Database for the numbers of fires each year since the database begins in 1970, and the respective area burned.

The findings do not support the climate alarmism. Since 1970 -- the period over which climate scientists tell us the impacts of anthropogenic climate change should be most evident -- there has been a statistically significant declining -- not increasing -- trend in the number of forest fires across Canada (all statistical tests performed with the Mann-Kendall method for time trend analysis). Seven of the 12 provinces and territories have significant declining trends. Only Alberta has a significant increasing trend.


For the area burned by forest fires, the nation as a whole has no significant trend since 1970, while three provinces have declining trends and the rest have no significant trends.

The Northwest Territories, supposedly the poster child for climate change impacts on forest fires, doesn't have any significant trends in either the number of forest fires or the area burned. In fact, the correlations for both these variables are negative (towards decreasing forest fire numbers and area burned), not positive. Same applies to British Columbia as a purported ground zero for forest fires and climate change. Since 1970, there has been a significant declining trend in the number of forest fires, and the correlation for the annual area burned is negative, not positive.

Overall, there appears to be no evidence that the climate change induced forest fire apocalypse is upon us in Canada, a fact which agrees with the trends in the United States and other analyses of climate data in these two countries.