05/28/2015 04:05 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT

Wildfire Season In Western Canada: 5 Things To Know

VANCOUVER - Five things to know about the 2015 wildfire season expected in Western Canada:

1. Experts contend El Nino is responsible for an early wildfire season that's predicted to contribute to an above-normal number of blazes in B.C., the Prairies and the Northwest Territories.

2. While a wildfire that raged for two weeks south of Prince George, B.C., is not unheard of this time of year, its 25,000-hectare size was more comparable to fires that erupted in July and August of last year.

3. A silver lining of a catastrophic fire season in the Northwest Territories last year is that a resultant patchwork of burned areas may act like speed bumps to prevent new fires breaking out. It often takes 10 or more years for the patches to become flammable again.

4. A B.C. fire information officer says people often believe that short bursts of rain drive down the danger rating and are good for preventing wildfires. Instead, the officer says prolonged rainfall is required to wet the finer fuels deep in the ground.

5. Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem in Canada, specifically helping the boreal forest to rejuvenate. Fire scientists say there is an ongoing struggle between balancing the ecological benefits of fire against the safety of the Canadian public.


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