Forest fires in Alberta, Canada, are now out of control. According to the government, the fire is devouring about 17,500 hectares or forests. There are 70 fires across Alberta, 19 of which are burning out of control, and they are now approaching the oil sand facilities. As oil companies are evacuating the area, oil production felled of about 15 per cent. Oil sands (also called tar sands or bituminous sands) are sands or sandstone containing a mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen. While international prices of oil are rising, exploitation of tar sands is becoming more and more economically rewarding. However as sands's impacts on the environment are serious: air and soil pollution, deforestation and green-house emissions.
According to Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks tree cover loss and gain in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000 (Map A). That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.