Forest Practices Board: Not enough being done to prevent wildfires

Results of a 2015 report are not being implemented quick enough to prevent wildfires

Independent Forest Practices Board says the province and municipalities needs to do more to get ahead of the wildfire threat

By Tim Ryan, Registered Professional Forester, Forest Practices Board

Sept. 23 to 30, 2017 marks National Forest Week in Canada. Established around 1920 as Forest Fire Prevention Week, the origins were to encourage greater public awareness towards Canada’s forests. At the time, the greatest threat to forests came from forest fires, mainly due to human causes. Since then, National Forest Week, as it was renamed in 1967, has evolved to encompass the many and varied human and environmental aspects of Canada’s forest resources – past, present and future. While much has changed in the last century, one could be forgiven for concluding that once again, the greatest threat comes from forest fires, only now due in large part to climate change.

The 2017 fire season began slowly, with a wet and cooler than normal spring, but took off on about July 7 and remains in full swing. This year dwarfed the historic records for area burned in British Columbia at well over a million hectares, or 12,000 square kilometres, and it’s still going. The effects on people, wildlife and our forest economy will be felt for many years to come. Consider also that 2017 was the driest year ever recorded in many parts of B.C. – by a significant margin, according to Environment Canada. Penticton, Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna and Cranbrook all had their driest summer since records have been kept. As of early September, Kamloops had only nine millimetres of rain and the average is 93. Kelowna had seven millimetres of rain and usually gets about 110.

In 2010 and again in 2015, the Forest Practices Board reported on the progress made implementing the 2003 Filmon recommendations to reduce the risk of wildfire damage to communities. Our reports, Fuel Management in the Wildland Urban Interface (2010) and Fuel Management in the Wildland Urban Interface – Update (2015), made a number of recommendations and suggestions for how to reduce the risk to property and lives. We would like to be able to say that significant progress has been made and the risks are being adequately addressed, but that’s not the case.

www.bcfpb.ca

Information on FireSmart can be found at: https://www.firesmartcanada.ca/

Tim Ryan is the chair of B.C.’s Forest Practices Board – the public’s independent watchdog for sound forest practices in British Columbia. Prior to that he worked in the forest industry in a variety of leadership roles across Western Canada and the U.S.

Just Posted

Kelowna council settles on 3.6 per cent tax increase for 2018

“Safety” budget heavy on a wide-range of public safety related spending

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15-to-19 year-olds, including one in Coldstream

Mail bandit puts damper on Christmas in Central Okanagan

Mail Box thefts have been reported throughout the Okanagan

West Kelowna RCMP seeks to reunite stolen items to owners

Numerous personal belongings were found during a seizure

Budget 2018: Kelowna to look at monitoring downtown security cameras 24 hours per day

Potential $30,000 budget item will be discussed further over objections of the mayor

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter, household net worth

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

Charges in car wash shooting stalled

Court waits for police watchdog report on Salmon Arm incident.

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Most Read