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Fires or floods? What Albertans should prepare for this spring

Tuesday, March 2nd 2021, 11:02 am - Will it be a year of fires, floods, both, or neither? Reporter Kyle Brittain takes a closer look at what Alberta can expect in the upcoming months.

Will it be floods or fires this year? That’s a question that crosses many Albertans’ minds at the start of spring.

Over the past couple of decades, some of the costliest natural disasters in the province have occurred during the spring or early summer. For wildfires, 2011 and 2016 come to mind. For floods, it is 2005 and 2013 that people may fear a repeat of.

In order to get a sense of what may come to pass this season, we have to first look at the current situation.

WILDFIRE CONDITIONS

While there are some soil moisture reserves left over, “in general, it is safe to say that we are drier than normal,” says Ralph Wright, head of agrometeorology at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

The drier conditions and below-average snowpacks in portions of central and northern Alberta could lead to a more active start to wildfire season in May, should the drying trend continue.


Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2021 for an in-depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more!


FLOOD CONDITIONS

Meanwhile, in the Rockies, a relatively normal snowpack may help to quell early fears of excessive spring flooding.

In years such as this -- when we’re trending out of La Niña conditions -- there isn’t an overwhelming signal that either way could indicate that an active wildfire or flood season is likely to occur. For a closer look at what Alberta can expect this spring, watch the video above.

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