Wildfire wipes out ’90 percent’ of Canadian village

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/lytton-whole-town-on-fire-after-record-high-temperature/972596

By Mary Gilbert, AccuWeather meteorologist

Updated Jul. 2, 2021 1:32 PM PDTCopiedhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.470.1_en.html#goog_676015520https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.470.1_en.html#goog_1344689718about:blank00:00 of 00:31Volume 0% 

Residents of Lytton, British Columbia, raced to flee the town as a wildfire quickly approached the community, forcing a full evacuation order to be issued.

Following almost a full week of record-breaking, deadly heat, a community at the epicenter of the worst conditions now has a new tragedy to overcome.

The village of Lytton, located in southern British Columbia, Canada, was the hottest spot in the entire country for three consecutive days. From Sunday, June 27, to Tuesday, June 29, Lytton broke the all-time Canadian high-temperature record, with each day hotter than the last. The heat peaked on Tuesday when the temperature reached 121 F (49.6 C)

If unprecedented heat wasn’t enough of a problem, almost a full week of extremely hot and dry conditions set the stage for another danger: wildfires.

A fire broke out late Wednesday afternoon, local time, in Lytton, and according to eyewitnesses, the village was engulfed in flames within a matter of minutes.

Two people, a couple in their 60s, were reported dead as a result of the fire, according to The Vancouver Sun. According to their son, the couple took shelter in a hole in the ground before they were killed.

While the official evacuation order was signed into effect at 6 p.m. PDT Wednesday by Mayor Jan Polderman, residents had already begun to flee.

“It’s dire. The whole town is on fire,” Polderman told CBC News.

Satellite imagery shows smoke from wildfires across southern British Columbia, Canada, triggering pyrocumulus clouds on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (NOAA/CIRA)

Lytton is home to about 250 residents.

By Wednesday evening, additional communities north of Lytton were also ordered to evacuate as the blaze grew.

The magnitude of the charred devastation became apparent Thursday. A photo obtained by News 1130 in Vancouver showed the devastating aftermath of what was a once-bustling stretch in the town. Brad Vis, a Canadian minister of parliament, said that 90 percent of the town was destroyed in the fire, News 1130 reported.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Faccuweather&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1410649007748124679&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.accuweather.com%2Fen%2Fweather-news%2Flytton-whole-town-on-fire-after-record-high-temperature%2F972596&sessionId=4b7a5586c60bdb4d77511f6eac9e449e4884fe09&siteScreenName=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Faccuweather&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=500px

“The situation is very, very dire. There’s firefighters coming from across the province to assist with the growing fires in the region. The situation is still unfolding,” Vis told News 1130. The fire was reportedly more than 19,700 acres in size (about 8,000 hectares) as of early Thursday.

Anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 people in and around Lytton have been impacted by the fire, Vis told the news outlet.

The fire that engulfed Lytton was only one of more than 70 wildfires still burning across the entire province of British Columbia on Wednesday into Thursday. By Friday morning, the number of active wildfires in British Columbia had jumped to more than 110.

On Thursday night, homes were evacuated in the Kamloops, British Columbia, area due to another wildfire. Fortunately, the evacuation was rescinded as fire crews gained control of the fire. Residents were free to return to their homes.

The fires were caused by numerous lightning strikes in the Kamloops area earlier Thursday evening, according to the City of Kamloops.

“British Columbia Wildfire Service and Kamloops Fire Rescue will remain on site at the top and bottom of the fire,” reported the City of Kamloops. Residents could see “spot fires” throughout the rest of Thursday night.

Several roads were closed due to the fires, including large portions of highway 97. Dwayne McDonald, Commanding Officer of the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police, asked that residents “Please respect the closures,” as closed areas can be dangerous to enter.

This most recent stretch of hot, dry weather left places like Lytton and Kamloops primed for fire risk. The lack of moisture and abundance of dry fuels, like grass, created conditions under which it was very easy for wildfires to start and spread quickly.

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This most recent heat wave was, and continues to be, one of the worst ever experienced by southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States. The heat wave was also quick to turn deadly for British Columbia, with several hundred deaths already reported.

Smoke rises from a wildfire at Long Loch and Derrickson Lake in Central Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, June 30, 2021 in this photo obtained from social media. (BC Wildfire Service via REUTERS)(BC Wildfire Service via REUTERS)

Lisa Lapointe, British Columbia’s chief coroner, said 486 reports of “sudden and unexpected” deaths came in between last Friday and this Wednesday, which is well ahead of the 165 deaths the province normally sees in five days, The Associated Press reported.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), British Columbia has broken 43 all-time temperature records as of June 28.https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?e=ADL8174500765

AccuWeather forecasters say that while the worst of the heat has already occurred, temperatures will still remain well above average through early next week.

The last image from the webcam at the Lytton Airport June 30, 2021, shows the approaching fire that later engulfed the town.Gov

“With high temperatures likely topping out in the 90s F (~32-34 C) through early next week, this will make for uncomfortable conditions for firefighters,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Randy Adkins said.

In terms of containment efforts through the end of the week, AccuWeather forecasters say there are at least two positive weather trends.

“Fortunately, winds are not expected to be all that strong, and relative humidity has come up some,” Adkins explained.

The lack of strong winds should give firefighting crews across southern British Columbia an advantage against ongoing blazes. Weaker winds will prevent rapid fire spread and may keep embers from blowing longer distances and starting new fires.

“Rain chances may increase some heading into the weekend, but any thunderstorms that do develop are likely to be isolated in nature, so it’s far from a guarantee that needed rain will arrive,” Adkins cautioned. “In fact, should lightning occur with minimal rainfall, it could spark renewed blazes in areas not yet burned.”

See Also:Temperature of 121 F

Canada Goose going fur-free by end of 2022

By Brett Bundale  The Canadian PressPosted June 24, 2021 8:22 am Updated June 24, 2021 4:24 pm

Employees work with Canada Goose jackets at the Canada Goose factory in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2015.
Employees work with Canada Goose jackets at the Canada Goose factory in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Descrease article font size-AIncrease article font sizeA+

Canada Goose Holdings Inc., the luxury parka maker known for its coyote fur-trimmed hoods, will stop using fur in its products by the end of next year, the company said Thursday.

The decision came as upscale department store chain Holt Renfrew said it will stop selling all animal fur and exotic skins within the same timeframe.

READ MORE: Canada Goose sees revenue topping $1B amid online sales surge, China demand

The parallel announcements follow a string of similar decisions in recent years by U.S. retailers like Macy’s and brands like Gucci and Michael Kors.

The removal of fur from fashion collections and store shelves signals a changing tide in the apparel industry as consumer concerns over animal welfare increase, industry experts say.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said retail analyst Bruce Winder.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://e81723790df485f8991c9a4a927a5836.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“Frankly, I was pretty surprised that they still had fur in their products because if you look at what’s happened in the U.S., there were a number of retailers and brands that took fur out of their stores quite a while ago, so there was a bit of a lag here in Canada compared to the U.S.”Click to play video: 'Parks Canada faces controversy over winter coats'2:29Parks Canada faces controversy over winter coatsParks Canada faces controversy over winter coats – Feb 23, 2020

Ending the use of fur also allows brands and retailers to appeal to more consumers, said Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory.

“When it comes to brand growth, it’s more about the younger generation, and there are so many more vegans in the world,” she said. “This is really a great example of brand evolution for Canada Goose.”

Efros added: “This was kind of the last piece that they really needed to focus in on and clean up in order to truly appeal to a much larger demographic.”STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://e81723790df485f8991c9a4a927a5836.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The luxury parka maker has been using wild coyote fur from Western Canada and the U.S.

READ MORE: Canada Goose to drop wild coyote product use in parkas; shift to reclaimed fur

Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss said the decision will transform how the company makes its products.

“Our focus has always been on making products that deliver exceptional quality, protection from the elements, and perform the way consumers need them to,” he said in a statement, adding that the company is now also “accelerating the sustainable evolution of our designs.”

The change comes after the company said last year that it would start using reclaimed fur and stop purchasing new fur in 2022.

Canada Goose has faced criticism from some animal rights groups for its use of fur.Click to play video: 'People are being robbed of their Canada Goose jackets in Chicago'0:40People are being robbed of their Canada Goose jackets in ChicagoPeople are being robbed of their Canada Goose jackets in Chicago – Jan 29, 2019

In response to the company’s decision to go fur-free by the end of 2022, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said the animal rights group is suspending its international campaigns against Canada Goose.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://e81723790df485f8991c9a4a927a5836.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

PETA will now push the company to end its use of goose and duck feathers, she said.

Meanwhile, Holts said it plans to stop selling cosmetic products that contain plastic glitter and made a commitment that its denim will come from certified sustainable sources by the end of 2025.

It also said materials across its business such as cotton, leather, down and feathers and plastic packaging will come from certified sustainable sources by the end of 2025.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canada Goose to start making medical gear for health-care workers

The sustainability plan included targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions from its operations.

The commitments by Holts and Canada Goose will set the agenda for other retailers and brands in Canada, Winder said.

“These folks are leaders, so it will set the tone for the entire market.”

– With files from Craig Wong

Most Intense Burst of Evolution Ever Seen: Fossil Secret May Shed Light on Origins of Many of Earth’s First Animals

TOPICS:EvolutionGeographyPaleontologyUniversity Of Portsmouth

By UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH JUNE 2, 2021

Drs. Minter and Bath Enright, of the University of Portsmouth’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, studied the Burgess Shale area of British Columbia, both on location in the field and with laboratory experiments. Credit: Dr. Orla Bath Enright

A large group of iconic fossils widely believed to shed light on the origins of many of Earth’s animals and the communities they lived in may be hiding a secret.

Scientists, led by two from the University of Portsmouth, UK, are the first to model how exceptionally well preserved fossils that record the largest and most intense burst of evolution ever seen could have been moved by mudflows.

The finding, published in Communications Earth & Environment, offers a cautionary note on how palaeontologists build a picture from the remains of the creatures they study.

Until now, it has been widely accepted the fossils buried in mudflows in the Burgess Shale in Canada that show the result of the Cambrian explosion 505 million years ago had all lived together but that’s now in doubt.

The Cambrian explosion was responsible for kick-starting the huge diversity of animal life now seen on the planet.

Now, Dr. Nic Minter and Dr. Orla Bath Enright have found that some of the animals which became fossils could have remained well preserved even after being carried large distances, throwing doubt on the idea the creatures all lived together.

Drs. Minter and Bath Enright, of the University of Portsmouth’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, studied the Burgess Shale area of British Columbia, both on location in the field and with laboratory experiments. Credit: Dr. Orla Bath Enright

Dr. Minter said: “This finding might surprise scientists or lead to them striking a more cautionary tone in how they interpret early marine ecosystems from half a billion years ago.

“It has been assumed that because the Burgess Shale fossils are so well preserved, they couldn’t have been transported over large distances. However, this new research shows that the general type of flow responsible for the deposits in which they were buried does not cause further damage to deceased animals. This means the fossils found in individual layers of sediment, and assumed to represent animal communities, could actually have been living far apart in distance.”

Drs Minter and Bath Enright, of the University of Portsmouth’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, studied the Burgess Shale area of British Columbia, both on location in the field and with laboratory experiments.

The site is an area rich in fossils entombed in the deposits of mudflows and is one of the world’s most important fossil sites, with more than 65,000 specimens already collected and, so far, more than 120 species counted.

The Burgess Shale area has been fundamental to scientists in understanding the origins of animal groups and the communities they lived among and has been closely studied multiple times.

The researchers, together with collaborators from the Universities of Southampton and Saskatchewan in Canada, used fieldwork to identify how the mudflows would have behaved, and then used flume tank laboratory tests to mimic the mudflows and are confident that the bodies of certain creatures could have been moved over tens of kilometers without damage, creating the illusion of animal communities which never existed.

The Burgess Shale was discovered in the early 1900s and led to the idea of the ‘Cambrian explosion’ of life, with the appearance of animals representing almost all the modern phyla, and inspiring copious research and discoveries.

Dr. Bath Enright said: “Many would argue that it is fundamental, even ground zero for scientists in understanding the diversity of life.”

It’s not known precisely what caused the mudflows which buried and moved the animals which became fossilized, but the area was subject to multiple flows, causing well-preserved fossils to be found at many different levels in the shale.

“We don’t know over what kind of overall time frame these many flows happened, but we know each one produced an ‘event bed’ that we see today stacked up on top of one another. These flows could pick up animals from multiple places as they moved across the seafloor and then dropped them all together in one place,” said Dr. Bath Enright.

“When we see multiple species accumulated together it can give the illusion we are seeing a single community. But we argue that an individual ‘event bed’ could be the product of several communities of animals being picked up from multiple places by a mudflow and then deposited together to give what looks like a much more complicated single community of animals.

“Palaeontologists need to appreciate the nature of the sediments that fossils are preserved within and what the implications of that are. We could be overestimating the complexity of early marine animal communities and therefore the patterns and drivers of evolution that have led to our present day diversity and complexity.”

The researchers hope to do further study to investigate whether differences in the species that are present in other fossil sites are due to evolutionary changes through time or the nature of the flows and the effects of transport and preservation of the fossils.

Canadian Conservative party votes not to recognize climate crisis as real

Erin O’Toole speaks in Ottawa.
Erin O’Toole speaks in Ottawa. Photograph: Dave Chan/AFP/Getty Images

Reuters in TorontoSat 20 Mar 2021 14.19 EDT

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Canada’s main opposition Conservative party members have voted down a proposal to recognize the climate crisis as real, in a blow to their new leader’s efforts to embrace environmentally friendly policies before a likely federal election this year.

The rejected motion included the willingness to act against climate risks and to make highly polluting businesses take more responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On Friday, the Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole, urged party members to rally around an ambitious climate agenda, in order to avoid a defeat at the hands of Liberals.Advertisementhttps://c0c269f1ed7961379105249bcf2bb65a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

He asked members to be open to new ideas if they were serious about toppling the Liberals in the next election, even if that went against the party’s conventional thinking.

He did not want Conservative candidates to be branded as “climate change deniers”, he said.

On Saturday, Conservative delegates rejected the policy shift by 54% to 46%.

Climate change was a polarizing issue in the last election campaign. While Justin Trudeau stresses that the environment is a priority, Canada has failed to meet any of its climate pledges amid resistance from politicians who say the targets threaten the oil industry.

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis. The prime minister’s Liberal supporters rank it among their top concerns.

Joe Biden’s aggressive climate policies are expected to galvanize Canada to march in step with Washington’s tough measures to avoid being disadvantaged.

Rethink mink: Denmark’s COVID-19 outbreak linked to fur farms should worry Canadians

JESSICA SCOTT-REIDSPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAILPUBLISHED 1 DAY AGOUPDATED NOVEMBER 15, 2020

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-rethink-mink-denmarks-covid-19-outbreak-linked-to-fur-farms-should/?fbclid=IwAR1Ml42EjdwutJV7jiX6HoXLu56E86HlxyWf1JVib75YX0T7wzru__HXCHY

Jessica Scott-Reid is a freelance writer, animal advocate and co-host of Canadian animal law podcast Paw and Order.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes were on China, where the country’s wet markets – which in some cases sold live animals in cramped cages and unhygienic conditions that served as potential breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases – were linked to the early transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Now the world’s gaze has turned to Denmark, where at least 12 people have contracted a particularly worrying mutated version of COVID-19 from mink, prompting the region to lock down and begin the cull of tens of millions of farmed mink and causing the U.K. to ban travel to and from the Scandinavian country. Mink are the only known animals capable of catching the virus from humans and spreading it back, and since the beginning of the pandemic, mink infected with the virus have also been found in the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Greece, and the United States.

But while our heads may shake at these foreign places, tut-tutting at these “others,” Canadians should be looking at the mink farms in our own backyard and recognize that real risk exists right here – a risk our government helps fund.

According to 2018 data from Statistics Canada, we are home to 98 mink farms. When asked if mink on Canadian farms are currently being tested for COVID-19, representatives from Nova Scotia, B.C. and Ontario replied that the focus is instead on upping biosecurity measures. Similarly, the federal Minister of Agriculture assured me, in an email, that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is “collaborating with the Canada Mink Breeders Association on communicating the importance of biosecurity measures,” relying on the industry’s own, voluntary codes of practice, which are overseen by the non-governmental National Farm Animal Care Council. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, meanwhile, says farmers and farm veterinarians are “monitoring for any respiratory signs compatible with an infectious respiratory disease.”

But looking for respiratory symptoms is just not enough.

A typical mink farm holds as many as 20,000 animals, says Lesley Fox, the executive director of the Fur-Bearers, an animal-advocacy group. “And during pelting season right now, it’s even closer to 60,000 on some of these farms,” she said in an interview. “So how in the world would one, two, three people max with a checklist and a clipboard be able to properly evaluate that many individuals?”

She’s not the only one with concerns. Jan Hajek, a clinical infectious disease specialist at Vancouver General Hospital, says he wishes the medical community would better acknowledge the public-health risks associated with farming such large numbers of animals. “Although the extent of the risk is uncertain, it is certain that a risk exists, and this risk includes devastating pandemic disease,” he said in an interview.

Indeed, the public should be asking whether farming mink is worth the potential risk. After all, as a fashion product, mink is increasingly falling out of favour. Prices for fur have plunged around the world. A recent survey by Research Co. found 81 per cent of Canadians are not in favour of killing animals for fur, and global fur sales have plummeted in recent years.

Yet governments continue to fund mink farming in Canada. The CBC has found that, since 2014, as much as $100-million in provincial and federal money has been spent or tied up in loans to keep mink farms alive. “The government knows these farms have the capacity and potential to further spread COVID-19,” said Ms. Fox. “To subsidize the industry is to contribute to this reservoir for disease.”

It is certainly curious that, with so many sectors of the Canadian economy being forced to shut down to try to curb the spread of COVID-19, fur farms are permitted to carry on with business as usual. “Mink farming in Canada has long imposed cruel costs on the animals and now poses real risks to human health,” said Liberal MP Nathanial Erskine-Smith. “It was unacceptable before, and it is even more unacceptable now.” He added that federal compensation to mink farming “should be tied to transitioning farmers into less problematic economic opportunities.”

Animal and environmental advocates have long called for the end to fur farming in Canada. Today, there is even greater reason than before. “If it’s not for animal welfare, if it’s not for the environment, if it’s not because it’s a failing business, surely a pandemic would inspire the political will to finally create space to have conversations about transitioning people out of this industry,” Ms. Fox said.

During this time of pandemic and economic shutdowns, there is no room for Canadian complacency. Let us not be the ones who further fuel this fire by continuing to fund a floundering industry – especially one that poses such a viral risk.

Jasper caribou herd wiped out of existence

https://www.rmotoday.com/lake-louise/jasper-caribou-herd-wiped-out-of-existence-2713961?fbclid=IwAR0MneVUzS-Wo6OuJPF4EQ071ywQaWRNz_Wfdc50h16tFZ1FUKlrJivH3IE

Jasper caribou herd wiped out of existence

“The die off of Jasper’s entire Maligne caribou population is a tragic, predictable result of decades-long habitat and wildlife errors.”

BANFF – One of four caribou herds in Jasper National Park is extirpated.

Parks Canada quietly announced on its website that Jasper’s Maligne herd is gone and two other herds under the agency’s responsibility are too small to recover on their own.

The Maligne herd, down to about four animals in its remaining years, was last observed in 2018 and is considered extirpated, meaning locally extinct.

Environmentalists say saving caribou populations is perhaps the most widespread conservation issue currently facing Canada, noting the animals are under pressure throughout their range.

Alberta Wilderness Association is calling on Parks Canada to prevent the demise of Jasper’s Tonquin and Brazeau caribou herds and to manage Maligne range access for eventual caribou reintroduction there.

“The die off of Jasper’s entire Maligne caribou population is a tragic, predictable result of decades-long habitat and wildlife errors,” said Carolyn Campbell, AWA conservation specialist in a press release.

“[This was] reinforced in the last decisive decade by Parks Canada still catering to the recreation desires of a few above the habitat needs of endangered wildlife.”

Caribou that live in Jasper National Park are part of a subset of woodland caribou herds called Southern Mountain caribou and are protected under the Species At Risk Act (SARA).

Twenty-five years ago, more than 800 caribou ranged in the mountain national parks. Today, fewer than 220 animals remain.

“The Tonquin and Brazeau herds do not have enough female caribou – 10 or fewer in each herd –  to be able to grow the herds,” states the website.

“The Tonquin and Brazeau herds are now so small that they cannot recover on their own.”

The other herd, referred to as the À La Pêche, is a partially migratory group of about 150 animals on Jasper’s northern boundary that is primarily managed and monitored by the province of Alberta.

“Some animals in the herd stay in Jasper National Park year-round, some stay in the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, and some migrate back and forth,” according to Parks Canada’s website.

In neighbouring Banff National Park, woodland caribou were extirpated in 2009 when the last five animals in that tiny remnant herd died in an avalanche near Molar Creek north of Lake Louise.

Caribou historically occurred in two regions of Banff National Park – the herd wiped out in the avalanche spent time in the Upper Pipestone and Siffleur valleys. Caribou in the Nigel Pass area were thought to be part of the Brazeau herd.

The plan was to reintroduce caribou into Banff, but it’s not clear if that is off the table at this point.

Parks Canada did not grant an interview request, but in a statement indicated recovery efforts in Jasper are the priority.

“Banff National Park continues to meet its legal commitments under SARA by protecting critical woodland caribou habitat, even in the absence of caribou themselves,” according to the statement.

“Parks Canada’s recent species recovery efforts for the Banff-Jasper local population unit have largely centred on Jasper National Park, which has active herds of caribou, historically higher density populations, and more abundant habitat.”

According to Parks Canada’s 2017 multi-species action plan for Banff National Park, restoring caribou to the park may require an active reintroduction effort supported by a multi-partner, multi-jurisdictional captive breeding program.

The plan indicates this may be more challenging than augmenting existing populations, such as those in Jasper National Park.

“Caribou recovery efforts in Banff National Park will be contingent on the availability of captive-bred animals, and the persistence of a sufficient amount of suitable habitat with low predation risk,” it states.

“Any future reintroduction of caribou would be coordinated with the work of other mountain parks.”

Meanwhile, AWA is asking Parks Canada to consider an emergency population augmentation program for Tonquin and Brazeau caribou.

The organization also wants the federal agency to retain hard-won winter access limits in the Maligne range and consider further measures in Tonquin and Brazeau habitat to support caribou recovery.

In 2002, a temporary winter closure of Maligne Lake Road, approved by Jasper’s superintendent based on extensive evidence, was overturned by Parks Canada CEO as “unnecessary.”

Campbell said keeping the Maligne Lake winter road open every subsequent winter to recreation traffic, up to today, was a death sentence for Maligne caribou, giving wolves easy predation access as caribou numbers spiraled down.

“The ‘four month per year’ ski trail closures since 2016 were overdue measures that unfortunately proved too late to recover the tiny remaining population,” she said.

In the statement provided by Parks Canada, officials indicated the agency is committed to the protection and recovery of woodland caribou in the mountain national parks.

“Reintroduction is only one strategy to meet the broad number of overarching objectives listed under Canada’s recovery strategy for the southern mountain population of woodland caribou,” it stated.

No one likes wearing a mask — but with COVID-19 cases rising, you should put it on more often than you think

Covering up is becoming more important, ‘especially with people you don’t live with’

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was little evidence showing how helpful masks could be at reducing transmission of the novel coronavirus. But there’s been growing consensus among Canadian public health officials that masks are a key tool for curbing the spread. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
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Let’s face it: No one enjoys having a mask cover half their face.

They can be scratchy, sweaty, stuffy — all reasons why people quickly ditch them on a restaurant patio, avoid wearing them around friends and family or “forget” them while dashing into a store.

But experts warn that at this point in the pandemic, when the benefits of mask-wearing are growing clear — and COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly, with hospitalizations and deaths expected to follow — Canadians should be donning their masks more, not less.

“Keep wearing your mask, as much as you can, especially with people you don’t live with,” Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, stressed on Monday.

Multiple experts who spoke to CBC News this week say that means keeping a mask on in a variety of settings, even if local bylaws don’t mandate it.

“People think their private residences are exempt from the science of COVID-19 and don’t have that transmission risk,” said Dr. Zain Chagla, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University and an infectious disease consultant at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

“As we keep talking about, a lot of this jump and surge is actually due to transmission in some private residences.”

Dr Zain Chagla, an infectious disease consultant at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, says masks could be helpful in any crowded outdoor space where staying a couple of metres apart is challenging. Private residences also pose a transmission risk, he says. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Family outingscottage gatherings and a barbecue in a park have all sparked multiple cases of infections, according to public health officials in different Ontario cities.

Edmonton-based health policy expert Timothy Caulfield agreed that people should strive to wear a mask around anyone from outside someone’s own household.

“If it’s an indoor environment and you can’t get that good two-metre space all the time, think about wearing a mask — even if it’s family members,” said Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in health law and policy and research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

So what about outdoors? Many people don’t bother with masks outside, since there’s consensus that outdoor spaces are far less risky for virus transmission when compared with indoor settings, thanks to the constant flow of fresh air.

But Chagla said masks could be helpful in any crowded outdoor space where staying a couple of metres apart is challenging — “even if you’re on the patio, until you have to eat and drink, and then putting it back on afterwards,” he said. “We just have to kind of get people to make it a reflex.”

87% say mask-wearing is civic duty: survey

The advice to wear a mask in so many settings might be a confusing message after a stretch of shifting guidelines.

In the early days of the pandemic, there was scant evidence showing how helpful masks could be at reducing transmission of the new, and little-understood, SARS-CoV-2 virus.

More recently, studies have shown that masks reduce the rate at which sick people shed the virus and the distance droplets travel from your mouth.

Research on non-medical masks from a team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for example, found that many masks — and particularly those with multiple layers — are able to block a high number of droplets from getting through the fabric.

While the lab-based findings don’t provide a perfect look at how virus transmission works in the real world, there’s been growing consensus among Canadian public health officials that masks are a key tool for curbing the spread.

While Canadians have largely embraced mask-wearing in crowded public spaces, experts worry the practice is less common behind closed doors, whether at a private backyard gathering or inside a restaurant. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

For months, face coverings have been an official recommendation from the federal government for times when physical distancing isn’t possible.

Mandatory mask bylaws for various public spaces have also popped up in cities across the country, from the small Montreal suburb of Côte Saint-Luc to Ontario’s largest cities, Toronto and Ottawa.

A growing number of Canadians also back that push.

More than 80 per cent now support governments ordering people to wear a mask in all indoor spaces, noted a recent online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies released on Tuesday.

Even more respondents — 87 per cent — said wearing a mask is a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19.

WATCH | Quebecers disobeying mask rules will be fined, premier says:

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Quebecers not following COVID-19 mask rules will be fined: Legault

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Quebec Premier François Legault says ‘irresponsible’ citizens will face fines if they refuse to wear masks where it’s mandatory. 1:07

Masks ‘just one tool’ to reduce transmission

While Canadians have largely embraced mask-wearing at spots like grocery stores and other crowded public spaces, experts worry the practice is less common behind closed doors, whether at a private backyard gathering or inside a restaurant.

“The concept still holds true for gatherings at one’s own house and some of those other establishments where you can’t wear a mask all the time,” Chagla said.

“You probably should be wearing the mask — most of the time — in those establishments.”

Mask-wearing students on the first day of school in Surrey, B.C., earlier this month. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease expert and faculty lead for Indigenous and refugee health at the University of Toronto, also stressed the need for patrons at restaurants, bars and shops to make more effort to protect workers.

“Because it’s not just the consumers, it’s the people that also work in the stores where they are being exposed to many different people,” she said. “If all these people are coming in and not wearing masks or wearing them below their nose, that puts these people at risk.”

Caulfield said masks remain “just one tool” to reduce the risk of transmission, alongside other basic precautions like hand-washing and keeping at least a two-metre distance from anyone outside your household.

It’s a message that comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country is at a “crossroads” amid a surge of new COVID-19 cases.

“If you manage to reduce those contacts and make some choices of not going to big gatherings and some of these social events,” she warned this week, “you can manage this without a lockdown.”

If you chose to wear a reusable mask make sure to follow these steps. (CBC)

30 herons killed at nesting site in Vernon, B.C., after powerful windstorm

More than two dozen great blue heron chicks and one adult bird are dead after their nesting site in Vernon, B.C.,was heavily damaged in a powerful windstorm. (File Photos)

Wildlife expert says birds were either killed after trees fell or died from hypothermia

More than two dozen great blue heron chicks and one adult bird are dead after their nesting site in Vernon, B.C., was heavily damaged in a windstorm.

Vernon-based wildlife expert Pete Wise says he walked through the heron nesting colony in a protected grove of cottonwood trees on Thursday and discovered several trees had been toppled by the storm earlier in the week.

He says some nests were in the fallen trees, while others had been knocked loose or the chicks had been blown out.

Wise says the birds, which included 29 babies, were either killed in the fall or died from hypothermia in the hours afterward.

He estimates about one third of the colony was lost.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 great blue herons in B.C. and the province has placed the bird on a vulnerable species list due to its declining population.

One reason for the listing is the fact the birds can’t find large, isolated groves of trees suitable for nesting colonies.

Vancouver Aquarium closing to the public until further notice as COVID-19 losses continue

Aquarium announced Monday it is laying off 209 staff as losses continue

The Vancouver Aquarium, pictured on Feb. 24, has laid off more than 530 members of its staff as the pandemic led to steep financial loss. Specialized staff, in place to care for the animals, are keeping their jobs. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)
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The Vancouver Aquarium announced Monday more than 200 staff members are being laid off, primarily from the operations sector, as the aquarium closes to the public in an effort to save money after months of financial loss.

The Ocean Wise Conservation Association, which runs the facility, said in a statement all public programming will be “paused” until further notice as of Sept. 7.

The closure means dozens of people, from full-time to part-time to casual workers, are losing their jobs.

“Staff reductions were an incredibly difficult decision and one we truly hoped to avoid,” Christian Baxter, board chair of Ocean Wise, wrote in the statement.

The statement Monday said specialized staff, such as veterinarians and biologists, will remain on staff to care for animals at the facility.

The layoffs announced Monday are in addition to more than 330 people who already lost their jobs at the aquarium in the early spring.

The aquarium reopened in June with $2 million in federal emergency funding after a three-month closure at the start of the pandemic.

Terry Beech, Burnaby North-Seymour MP, visits the Vancouver Aquarium with his wife and daughter after announcing a $2-million grant to the aquarium on June 26. The aquarium said the emergency support helped keep the facility open, but animal care alone costs $1 million monthly. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

A reduced number of guests were allowed back over the summer, per public health guidelines, but the drop in revenue meant the aquarium couldn’t recoup its losses.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations only covered a few weeks’ worth of operations.

Ocean Wise has said it costs $1 million per month to feed and care for the 70,000 animals at the aquarium.

In order to avoid bankruptcy, the aquarium said its board is planning to try to create a new business model “that is both financially viable in light of the pandemic and also accelerates Ocean Wise’s mission of ocean conservation.”

“Under these difficult circumstances, transforming the aquarium is the most responsible thing we can do,” said Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of Ocean Wise.

The aquarium, which was the first public aquarium in the country, opened in 1956.

Class-action lawsuit alleges meat packer failed to take COVID-19 precautions

Cargill beef plant is shown in High River Alta., on Thursday, April 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Eventually nearly half of the workers contracted the virus and two employees died

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Cargill Ltd. that claims the meat-packing company failed to take reasonable precautions to protect its workers in Alberta during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cargill’s beef plant near High River, south of Calgary, employs about 2,200 people. It shut down for two weeks in April because of an outbreak that affected 350 staff.

It reopened after bringing in safety measures that included temperature testing, physical distancing, cleaning and sanitizing.

Eventually nearly half of the workers contracted the virus and two employees died.

The lawsuit, which needs to be approved by a judge, was filed by Guardian Law Group and seeks damages for the harm done to family members, friends and other people who were in close contact with Cargill employees who contracted the novel coronavirus.

The plaintiffs do not include the employees themselves, who are covered by labour and worker compensation laws.

The statement of claim alleges that despite warnings and guidelines issued by the Alberta government, Cargill Ltd. failed to take “reasonable precautions” at the beginning of the outbreak to limit its spread.

“This is a sophisticated facility and a company well-versed in proper safety procedures. That’s why it’s so shocking to see them fall so far below the standard of acceptable behaviour that we expect from employers in this situation,” said Mathew Farrell of Guardian Law Group Friday.

“Businesses bear a responsibility to the community to take reasonable measures to limit the spread of this disease, and where they fail to do so, we will hold them to account for the harms that result.”

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Daniel Sullivan, a Cargill spokesman, said the company does not have a comment to make at this time regarding the class action. He gave a general statement in an email.

“At Cargill, we take seriously our responsibility to feed the world and that keeping people safe is core to our values.”

The High River plant is back at full operation and processes about 4,500 head of cattle a day — more than one-third of Canada’s beef-packing capacity.

Cargill Ltd. is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Cargill Inc., one of the largest privately owned corporations in the United States by revenue.

READ MORE: Another Cargill meat-processing plant closes after COVID-19 outbreak

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press