Wildfires Project Information
This work grew out of the Weather Patterns project which is bearing unexpected imagery, emerging over time, with the smoke from wildfires both local and global being the most noticeable. Victoria, Canada, where I live, has not seen any fires in the immediate area but has had intense periods of smoke envelope the city since 2017, at times recording the worst air quality on the planet.
Through these large scale works, Wildfire focuses in on one of the many cascading events in the acceleration of climate breakdown.
2020 experienced a record-breaking wildfire season stretching through California, Oregon and Washington states. In Vancouver BC (58 miles from Victoria where these photographs were taken) air currents pushed the smoke north from the USA, and September 12 through 14 saw the air quality reach the worst levels of any major city on the globe. The smoke reached across North America and could eventually be seen as far away as Northern Europe - over 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) away.
The summer of 2018 also saw unprecedented wildfire events around the globe: fires broke out north of the Arctic Circle, California had both the first and second largest fires in their history, Greece had the second deadliest wildfires this century, and smoke from fires burning in Siberia crossed to North America affecting both the US and Canada.
Here in the province of British Columbia it was the worst fire season to date, surpassing record-setting 2017 with a greater number of fires overall and a larger total area burned. A state of emergency was called on August 15th lasting through September 7th. Wildfire smoke left some areas in the province with the worst air quality in the world and air quality alerts were issued as far away as Prince Edward Island on Canada's east coast, over 4000km away.