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

Claims already being staked after GeoScience BC report released

In the first 15 days following the report, a total of 34 new claims were staked.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Waulkwass River

A kingfisher and some trumpeter swans came by close enough to get a few shots.

Port Hardy RCMP investigating drug offences

Both vehicle occupants may face future charges related to the suspected drugs and cash.

Port McNeill’s Barb Drennan named forest technologist of the year

“Her work with the Heiltsuk First Nation is a model for other forest professionals”

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read