Jill Johnstone

Plant ecologist Jill Johnstone warns climate change is a danger to the boreal forest. (Courtesy Jill Johnstone )

A researcher at the University of Saskatchewan is not sure this is the smoking gun, but has little doubt climate change is contributing to all those fires in the west and far north.

'We're getting more frequent dry spells' - Jill Johnstone 

Jill Johnstone, a plant ecologist, stops short of declaring this unequivocal evidence of the impact of climate change only because historic forest fire patterns are unpredictable.

Johnstone said, however, that the evidence is mounting that climate change is creating danger in our forests.    

"We're getting more frequent long dry spells," Johnstone said. "The type of weather that is conducive to getting big fires is becoming more frequent."

The forest may be changing due to climate change

Johnstone also said she is seeing evidence that the boreal forest is evolving due to the forces of climate change and fire.

She is seeing new species of trees taking root in the forest, which could make the boreal forest more fire resistant. But it could also rob the region of valuable habitat for some species of wildlife.