Number of wildfires, provinces, territories and Parks Canada, 2016 and 10-year average

*PC = Parks Canada

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from the Canadian Wildfire Information System of Natural Resources Canada. – accessed March 8th, 2017.

In 2016 there were 975 wildfires in British Columbia – the 10-year average for that provinces was 1,634. In 2016 there were 1,246 wildfires in Alberta and the 10-year average was 1,383.

It is expected that in Canada’s forests, the incidence of wildfire will increase as the temperature rises and the amount of precipitation lessens.1

1Berry, P., Clarke, K., Fleury, M.D. and Parker, S. (2014): Human Health; In Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation, (ed.) F.J. Warren and D.S. Lemmen; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON, p. 191-232.


Wildfires can cause health problems, including smoke inhalation, respiratory tract burns, dehydration, and heat exhaustion due to the release of a large quantity of particulate matter. Children are especially vulnerable to respiratory illness and eye irritation.2

Infant mortality rates are associated with wildfires due to the increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease.3

2Kunzli, N., Avol, E., Wu., J., Gauderman, W.J., Rappaport, E., Millstein, J., et al. (2006). Health Effects of the 2003 Southern California Wildfires on Children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 174: 1221-1228., as cited in Sheffield, P.E., & Landrigan, P.J. (2011). Global Climate Change and Children’s Health: Threats and Strategies for Prevention. Environ Health Perspect, 119: 291-298. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002233
3Robinson, B., & Alatas, M.F., Robertson, A., & Steer, H. (2011). Natural Disasters and the lung. Respirology, 16 (3). 386-395, as cited in Berry et al., (2011), above.