Wildfire season is getting longer in Alberta every year with climate change, scorching land and polluting the air with thick smoke. But, the City of Calgary is studying another, perhaps less obvious, impact of wildfires — drinking water contamination. There haven't been any major fires in the Bow and Elbow river watersheds, upstream of the City of Calgary, for years. But, there are fears a major fire west of the city could wash burned material into the rivers, impacting the drinking water supply for the city's 1.4 million residents.
B.C. Hydro is preparing for lower water levels in some Vancouver Island reservoirs and watersheds in the coming months, after a particularly dry winter.
Both the Puntledge and Campbell rivers are running low and that impacts everything from salmon runs to boating tourists, as well as electric utility operations.
More than three dozen former biologists are asking the Alberta government to stick with conservation efforts in a vast area of west-central Alberta despite what they call misinformation from an Opposition member of the legislature. "We were very concerned about the misinformation, the inflamed rhetoric and the lack of a long-term vision that perspective provides for the Bighorn," said Lorne Fitch, a longtime fisheries biologist and University of Calgary professor who is one 37 signatories to the open letter to Premier Rachel Notley and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips. In November, the New Democrats announced eight new parks covering 4,000 square kilometres along the eastern edges of Banff and Jasper national parks in the so-called Bighorn Country.