Media Tip Sheet: Canada is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record

September 15, 2023

brush fire

File of a brush fire

Canada is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced this week that this year’s fires have tripled the record high for carbon emissions from previous Canadian wildfire seasons and have burned the largest land area ever observed in the country. This year’s fires have tripled the record high for carbon emissions and with hundreds of fires still burning, Copernicus said emissions may keep increasing.

GW's Rachael Jonassen

Rachael Jonassen is an associate research professor in the Sustainable Urban Planning Program and has served as the director of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Management Program in the Environmental and Energy Management Institute at George Washington University. She served as Program Director for Carbon Cycle at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and as the NSF representative to the U.S. Global Change Research Program and helped manage it. From 2008-2013, Dr. Jonassen was Senior Scientist for Climate Change at LMI and advised numerous government agencies on climate, energy and water issues. Her areas of expertise include climate change science, policy and mitigation. She is also an expert on greenhouse gas mitigation and can speak to the technologies of carbon capture and storage as well as the challenges of implementation and implications for mitigating GHGs.

Jonassen says these issues are not unique to Canada – from the arctic areas of Alaska and Russia to countries like Brazil, the threat of intensifying wildfires due to climate change persists anywhere where there are large forests. She can discuss a number of issues related to the forest carbon crisis.

If you would like to speak with Prof. Jonassen, please contact GW Senior Media Relations Specialist Cate Douglass at [email protected].