Vancouver, B.C.–based independent publisher Greystone Books and news media organization Postmedia are responding to ongoing Canada wildfires with a November book, The Summer Canada Burned: A Wildfire Season That Shocked the World ($34.95 CAD/$27.95 USD). Monica Zurowski, deputy editor at Postmedia Calgary, is in the process of compiling and editing journalism from Postmedia newsrooms across the country to create a chronological account of the crisis, illustrated with 100 photos from coverage.

Manitoba-based, employee-owned Friesens Corporation is on deck to print The Summer Canada Burned. Greystone is distributed in the U.S. by Publishers Group West and in Canada by University of Toronto Press Distribution.

The speed at which Greystone and Postmedia planned the book speaks to the urgency of the situation. “I reached out to Greystone in August, and it really has been a matter of pulling all this together in five or six weeks as of right now,” Zurowski said. “The term ‘instant book’ might leave people with the impression it’s turned around quickly, but we’re using months’ worth of research from our Canadian news outlets.”

Greystone publisher Jen Gauthier said that the house is "moving very quickly" to get the information into print. The Summer Canada Burned will “touch on the communities, the human impact, and the climate change issues” related to the fires, she added. “The eyes of the world are on Canada and what’s happening, and we’re looking at the lessons we can learn from this summer.”

Fires erupted in British Columbia and Alberta in late April, and by May, an immense fire season was under way. Orange smoke blanketed the U.S. eastern seaboard in early June, and all of North America reckoned with air quality health advisories, event cancellations, habitat loss, and other calamities. “The longer the summer went on, the more I realized this is an important story to tell,” Zurowski said. “It can’t just be about Alberta or B.C. or Quebec, because these wildfires have impacted the rest of the world. It’s a case study for what can happen with climate change.”

Zurowski emphasizes that “this story is still going on.” As of the third week in August, Zurowski said, Canada had lost 15.3 million hectares—or 37.8 million acres—of forested land, “and we still have September and all of October to go.” Winter may not extinguish the blazes, because so-called “zombie fires” can smolder in undergrowth for months before re-emerging.

“This year is the worst year on record for Canadian wildfires,” Gauthier agreed. “A lot of the time you hear about the fires, but the winds are blowing the other way and you’re not forced to confront it. But when the smoke comes down and you realize the impact of fires in Kelowna or Shuswap [B.C.] more recently, there’s a big influence on everybody’s psyche and mental well-being. It’s getting scarier and scarier.”

This new publication comes 10 years after Greystone and Postmedia collaborated on another quick-turnaround project about climate, The Flood of 2013: A Summer of Angry Rivers in Southern Alberta, which sold 60,000 copies and benefited the Calgary Foundation’s Flood Rebuilding Fund. Some proceeds from The Summer Canada Burned will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross Wildfire Fund, which aids people displaced by the fires.

Zurowski is eager to collect daily reporting on wildfire events in the “more permanent form” of a book. “This information needs to be out there right now,” she said, because today’s wildfires will inform government policies, crisis management, infrastructure design, tourism, and insurance premiums in the near future. She also wants to recognize the “tens of thousands of people across the country suffering real loss, including the financial loss of not working for one, two, three weeks. We want to capture those stories.”