There are a total of 49 terrible wildfires currently blazing away in Alberta, Canada. While fortunately there have been no deaths and injuries, the damage has been extensive. This news report begins by describing the extent of the fire.
A huge wildfire raging in the Canadian province of Alberta has grown to 85,000 hectares (210,035 acres) in size and officials would like to move south about 25,000 evacuees who had previously fled to the north.
I was curious as to why news reports of fires tend to use acres and hectares as measures of the extent. I personally have little sense of how big an acre is and absolutely no idea what a hectare is. There was time in school where I knew off the top of my head the conversion factors for most areas but that was long ago. Now I have to look it up to get a better sense of how big it is. I first convert the acreage to square miles, then take the square root of that number, and this enables me to envisage a square of that size because it gives me a comparison with the distances in my town. In this case the fire covers 328 square miles or a square of side 18 miles
Maybe for people who live in rural and farm areas where these fires usually take place or those who own houses that occupy a lot of land, the acre is a unit that they can easily envisage. But hectares? Is that a common measure of area for anyone at all?