Letter to the editor: Wildfire management in B.C. could be done better writes a former Ranger-in-charge

It is patently obvious that B.C. is in a crisis situation relative to wildfire control

It is patently obvious that B.C. is in a crisis situation relative to wildfire control in the province as evidenced during the 2017 and current summer periods. While this condition is now often blamed on global warming, one should reflect that past wildfire seasons such as 1958 and 1967 were also of severe intensity. Correspondingly resources during these earlier periods were minuscule compared to those now available therefore one should reflect as to why this untenable condition continues. In this connection I would offer the following:

1. Establish a holistic approach to provincial forest administration by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations rather than the current fragmented organization.

2. Firmly entrench the 10 a.m. control concept which calls for control of wildfires by 10 a.m. the next morning following detection. Too many fires are being classified as monitored or modified response resulting in substantial loss of forest values and smoke development (i.e. the Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos).

3. Develop and maintain liaison with the forest industry community and other suitable agencies to encourage early attack on wildfire incidents where opportune. Indeed, if the resources within the province are properly organized external assistance will be eliminated, or at least substantially reduced, with cost associated benefits.

3. Increase elimination of hazardous fuels on appropriate sites by broadcast burning during the fall period when weather conditions offer better control. Some smoke during this period is preferable to the current summer situation.

While the current direct cost of wildfire suppression is substantial, it pales in comparison to the massive loss of forest values and associated resources. Also, and possibly tragically, the atmospheric conditions being created under current wildfire control appear to be detrimental to the health of our citizenry and perhaps even fatal.

-George Benwell, Ranger-in-charge Lardeau 1963-1971 and Revelstoke 1972-1979

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Terrace calling on Province to take stricter social distancing measures

The City sent the Province a letter earlier this month with a number of recommendations

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

Grant could help ease road rebuild cost

Would help pay for sidewalk, bike lane

Terrace Library, Misty River Books adapt amid COVID-19 to keep readers reading

Library also unrolling online programs to keep kids occupied

Preventable accidents may impede Search and Rescue capacity during pandemic

TSAR vice president urges outdoor enthusiasts to pause risky activities

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read