Understanding and Assessing Impacts
With rising temperatures, milder winters, declining snowpack, droughts, and increasing incidence of lightning strikes, climate change is undeniably fuelling intensifying fire seasons in Western Canada. In the presence of dangerous Wildland urban interface (WUI) fires, homeowners are often forced to evacuate and temporarily relocate until they can return to their communities. For Kamloops, a centrally-located host city for wildfire evacuees, intensifying fire seasons lead to more evacuations, which in turn potentially strains Kamloops’ resources as they must accommodate for a much larger population for an extended period of time. Having historically hosted a large number of evacuees during the wildfire season of 2003 and 2009, Kamloops was no stranger to stretching resources and putting systems to the test to temporarily accommodate larger populations. However, the destruction caused by the 2017 and 2018 fire season in British Columbia was unprecedented: 65,000 people had to evacuate their homes.