As wildfires rage in western Canada, a communications and broadcasting policy expert says the national weather alerting system should account for a wider range of extreme events.
Monica Auer of Canada’s Forum for Research and Policy in Communications says emergency notifications should be sent out for any events that have the potential to threaten lives, such as wildfires.
As of now, the National Public Alerting System — publicly known as Alert Ready — issues emergency notifications for tornadoes and severe storms.
A federal regulatory policy drafted in 2014 says alert messages should be issued for situations presenting “imminent or unfolding dangers to life.”
The federal broadcast regulator said in the policy that this included, but was not limited to, tornadoes, forest fires, industrial disasters and tsunamis.
Eric de Groot, an associate director with Environment Canada, had no comment on the question of expanding the weather alerting system to include events such as wildfires or heat waves.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 22, 2023.