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The Summer Canada Burned

The Wildfire Season that Shocked the World

Regular price $34.95 CAD
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  • ISBN: 9781778401879
  • Tags: Calgary Herald, Climate Change, Monica Zurowski, Nature & Environment, Photography, Postmedia, Wildfires,
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 8.75

A share of the sales from the book will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross.

“All hell has broken loose.” That’s the phrase some fire officials use to describe the unprecedented 2023 wildfire season in Canada. Never before has the vast and rugged beauty of this country been ravaged by as many devastating wildfires as has been experienced this year. Never before have the fires been this big or moved this fast.

The wildfire season started in the spring with most provinces and territories facing a drought. March runoff was weak; April rainfall was bleak. Brittle branches and tinder-dry vegetation served up ideal fuel for hungry flames and by early May, many parts of Canada grappled with a record-breaking number of fires.

By the end of August, wildfires had devoured more than 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of Canadian forest—more than six times the average usually lost to fire. Provinces such as British Columbia and Nova Scotia experienced their largest wildfires ever. Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Northwest Territories battled their most destructive wildfires ever. At the same time, Ontario and dozens of American states were blanketed with choking wildfire smoke, registering the worst air quality in the world for several days.

Tens of thousands of Canadians—from coast to coast to coast—were chased from their homes by flames or the threat of flames, seeking shelter in evacuation centers across the country. People from Halifax, Yellowknife, Kelowna, Shuswap, and many other communities survived harrowing escapes along flame-lined roads, with embers raining down upon them. Thousands of firefighters from Canada and around the world risked their lives to battle the blazes, which already numbered almost 6,000 by the end of August. Four firefighters lost their lives doing so.

The Summer Canada Burned tells the dramatic story of Canada’s wildfires in 2023—a story that provides a case study of the changing climate and its impacts on our environment. It reflects evolving attitudes about approaches to wildfires and the role all people can play in prevention. Most importantly, however, the story of Canada’s wildfires is a story of loss and of survival. From the ashes, people rise, communities rebuild and seeds of new growth sprout.


Monica Zurowski, deputy editor of Postmedia Calgary, joined the Calgary Herald more than three decades ago and has held a variety of editor and writing positions during that time. Her work has appeared in publications across Canada and the United States; she’s also worked on nine non-fiction books as either editor or author; and she’s led teams of journalists to 14 awards from Newspapers Canada and to more than a dozen citations from the International News Media Association. Zurowski is also a crossword puzzle creator, whose puzzles have been published across North America.