wildfire size area canada

Wildfires have burned areas measuring 100 times the size of Toronto in 2023

Imagine Toronto entirely engulfed in flames, from Lake Ontario north to Steeles, and from the Rouge River in the east to Etobicoke Creek in the west. Now multiply that area by 100, and you are starting to get a sense of the immense and apocalyptic wildfires burning out of control across the Canadian wilderness right now.

Wildfires in 2023 have scorched roughly 6.3 million hectares/6,300 km², or about 15.5 million acres of land in Canada.

For reference, Toronto's land area measures 63,020 hectares/630.2 km², or 155,700 acres, a number you would have to multiply by a staggering 99.968 to reach the area of scorched land during a record wildfire season.

That's significantly larger than the entire province of Prince Edward Island's land area of 5,660 km².

If that comparison isn't concerning enough, the area affected by wildfires is 178.71 km² larger than the combined area of the world's seven smallest countries.

If you add up the land area of microstates Vatican City, Monaco, Nauru, Tuvalu, San Marino, Liechtenstein, and the Marshall Islands, you are still only at 71.6 per cent of the area of Canada burned so far this year.

Much of this unprecedented forest fire wave is occurring in Quebec, however, there have been close to 300 wildfires in Ontario alone this season. Not even 100 had burned by the same time in 2022.

The Ontario Forest Fires Twitter account run by the province's Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry has been sharing terrifying updates captured from aircraft surveying the damage, showing scenes that look ripped from a high-budget disaster flick.

Though the fires may be some distance from Toronto, the city has indeed experienced ill effects from the distant infernos.

A thick cloud of smoke and ash wafted over the city in early June, leaving the smell of campfires in the atmosphere and driving air quality down to dangerous levels. The particles in the air also create conditions for some haunting red sunrises and sunsets and Blade Runner-esque orange skies.

And it could get even worse in the days and weeks to come, as hot, dry weather is in the forecast for areas currently burning or at risk.

Canada's record-breaking 2023 wildfire season is just another troubling warning from a planet that seems sick and tired of our species' unending bull***t.

Lead photo by

@ONForestFires


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