COLUMN: Doing nothing not an option in era of wildfires

COLUMN: Doing nothing not an option in era of wildfires

More controlled burns are needed to deal with decades of fuel accumulation

The Megafires film and power point presentation at the Gibraltar Room on Nov. 30 sponsored by the South Cariboo Sustainability Society and Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society provided some encouraging options for what started as a very dismal forecast of short and long term impact of mega fires.

More controlled burns (producing some smoke) are needed to deal with decades of fuel accumulation in the forests.

The fire scientists tell us if we don’t change our forest management practices we will be faced with much more smoke from mega fires along with potential loss of life and forest resources.

The evening started with a 60 minute film by Paul Hessburg who provided photos and documents that showed how our historically diverse forests have become homogenized and overloaded with dry, unproductive under stories.

Harvesting practices along with fire prevention activities have reduced industrial timber, recreation and wildlife values and created a fuel base which encourages mega fires.

Read More: Restoring forestry in B.C.

Repeated wildfires on stands before they reach maturity can impact all values for decades to come. Mr. Hessburg’s discussion was mostly focused on the north west United States but he also discussed the Fort MacMurry fire and pointed out how the principles applied to many countries with warming trends due to climate changes.

Huge firefighting costs for mega fires are multiplied many times by long-term costs related to impacts on human health, soil erosion, ecosystem restoration and losses in biodiversity.

Following the film a power point presentation by Bob Gray focused the discussion on the 2017 mega fires in this province. Thanks to Kristi Iverson from 100 Mile who arranged for Bob to attend the sessions in 100 Mile House and here.

His presence was invaluable in answering questions following his presentation and also provided an introduction to the white paper that he coauthored.

The paper authored by Lori Daniels, Robert Gray and Philip Burton was supported by over 30 scientists and elected officials was sent to premier Horgan and Minister of Forests Donaldson.

The eight-page document provided a good history of how we got to the precarious state of our forest management and more importantly offered 46 specific recommendations for avoiding a dismal future for the provinces forests.

In this province, as pointed out in the white paper, the $1.82 billion dollar direct firefighting costs in the last decade could be two to 32 times that in the indirect costs.

The authors also point out that only 288 million were spent on preventive wildfire management, forest enhancement and ecological restoration while 17 billion was spent on seismic upgrades for mitigating potential earthquakes.

I encourage everyone to get a copy of the white paper and view the short version of Mr. Hessburgs film available as a 15 minute version on one of the TED talks. We must all understand that doing nothing is not an option.

First get informed then keep the pressure on our elected officials and also do what we can on our own properties to make them safer from future mega fires.

Also look for a possible presentation by Mr. Hessburg here in Williams Lake in the spring.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A worker at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
B.C. Mining Month celebrates innovation

Mining has long been important to the Williams Lake economy

Taskeo Mines Ltd.’s Gibraltar Mine has released its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report titled Sustainability: Our Low Carbon Future. (Photo submitted)
Gibraltar Mine gets top marks for limiting greenhouse gas emissions

Taseko Mines Limited has published its annual report on its sustainability performance for 2020

Maude and R.C. Cotton, at the Cotton Ranch in the Chilcotin. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Cariboo history of R.C. Cotton

Who was R.C. Cotton and why is his name associated with this site?

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures dramatic rollover crash at Massey Tunnel

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Most Read