The CRED site is very useful and no doubt 2020 shall figure sharply in the ‘Biological’ category world-wide due to Covid-19. There may appear to be impacts and influences on other categories of natural disaster.
A quick grab from the BC Government Wildfire records shows that 2019 was significantly lower in total number of fires overall, from 2017 and 2018, and at this point in time this year (which is usually the peak of the fire season) there are 382 reported fires in the province, almost entirely caused by lightning strikes. Last year was quite unusual. The stats from 2018 and 2017 are much more in the norm here.
The 2020 season would appear to be heavily impacted by the Covid-19 ‘Stay Home’ orders across the province and the consequent bare minimum of remote area travel by all residents. So, traditional impacts from climatological factors have been dramatically offset here by the epidemic.
There could also be an assumption made that there will be less of a negative impact going forward from flooding and landslide activities which in any given year are often attributed to the loss of viable forest cover which is destroyed by the wildfires. However, I am no geographer and I bet there are some interesting studies arising from the ‘cross pollination’ of the impact of one natural disaster compared to another!
Year Total Fires Total Hectares Total Cost (millions) Average Hectares per Fire Person-caused Person-caused (%) Lightning-caused Lightning-caused (%)
2019 825 21,138 $182.5 25.6 448 (54.3%) 375 (45.4%)
2018 2,117 1,354,284 $615.0 639.7 535 (25.3%) 1,489 (70.3%)
2017 1,353 1,216,053 $649.0 898.8 552 (40.8%) 773 (57.1%)