Expert says lightning likely caused Canadian wildfires

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:38 PM EDT
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(WBNG) -- With ongoing air quality concerns still prevalent throughout the region many may be wondering how the wildfires in Canada started.

Assistant Professor of Public & Ecosystem Health at Cornell University Alistair Hayden said wildfires are caused by one of two things: A strike of lightning or human interference.

Hayden believes the wildfires in Quebec were caused by lightning strikes and not humans, due to the fact that the area is rural.

“Across Canada, especially northern Canada, where there are fewer people, lightning strikes are the main cause,” said Hayden. “Across the US, where there are lots of people, humans actually cause the vast majority of wildfires.”

According to Hayden, the increase in wildfires across North America is due to a drier-than-usual fire season.

“Climate change is making fire season much longer and making conditions drier during fire season,” said Hayden. “When a fire does start it’s more likely to grow rapidly.”

Wildfires in Quebec are still burning out of control and may continue to do so in the coming days, but weather patterns may begin to clear the smoke affecting much of the northeastern US.