Photo submitted The wildfire at 150 Mile House was one of several fires of historical proportions during the summer of 2017.

Era of Megafires presentation

Experts to present on summer’s fires

The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society combined with the South Cariboo Sustainability Society are hosting two Era of Megafires nights, one in Williams Lake and one in 100 Mile House.

Through a special film presentation by Dr. Paul Hessburg and a live presentation and Q&A with fire ecologist Bob Gray, the events will be a forum for discussion about this year’s wildfires.

“Fires are a natural — even necessary — process in nature, but megafires are not. We hope this session will offer a unique learning opportunity to citizens who wish to understand the causes and solutions around the relatively modern issue of megafires,” says Vanessa Moberg, with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

A well-attended seminar called the Future of our Forests led the conservation societies to ramp up their programming on forests and forestry, she says. Then the wildfires hit.

“Now more than ever we feel the need for greater education and awareness surrounding sustainable forestry management practices,” says Moberg.

“Our mandate is to maintain and enhance the health of the environment as the basis of a strong economy and vital society.

“We are always looking to engage with industry, including the forestry sector, to strike a balanced sustainable approach to harvesting our natural resources.”

Gray’s presentation will focus on local issues, according to Peter Jarvis, who’s with the South Cariboo Sustainability Society.

“We had issues with it all summer. So all these various wildfires, you need to understand why they happen and how they’re going to continue happening and what you can do about it. This will transfer that information,” he says.

“It undoubtedly is to do with climate change and climate change is only making things worse but even aside from that, they would still happen.

“These fires happen and we’ve tried to suppress them in the past and we’ve changed the ecology, the spacing and types of trees that grow around. So there is a need to go back to the way things used to be.”

In other places such as California, they’ve realized that by suppressing fires too much, that when fires do occur they can’t control them anymore and they become huge fires, says Jarvis.

In Williams Lake, the event starts at 7 p.m. at the Gibraltar Room on Nov. 30. For more information call 250-398-7929. Entry is by donation.

With files from Max Winkelman.

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