It’s been a long, cold winter here in the Cariboo, but warmer weather and longer days are on the horizon. This means sunshine, more out-of-town visitors, and community events. However, the warming weather also marks the start of flood and wildfire seasons, and it’s time for everyone to get prepared for the possibility of further extreme weather events.
I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that water levels are rising throughout the region, pointing to the possible arrival of the spring freshet. We may start to see flooding and washouts on roads, and everyone should take steps to prepare their homes, like clearing debris from gutters and elevating and anchoring utilities, electrical panels and sockets.
When on the road or outside, it’s important to keep clear of eroded banks as they are likely to be unstable. And of course, it’s vital to stay alert for changing conditions, and possible evacuation notices, particularly if you live in low-lying areas or near bodies of water.
In the same way, we also need to prepare for fires. Already this year we’ve seen a handful of wildfires in our region. It’s a reminder to be vigilant all year round to prevent fires from breaking out. There are steps we can all take to prevent human-caused fires — ensuring that campfires and controlled burns are entirely put out and never left unattended, making sure to never to discard cigarette butts outdoors, taking steps to make our properties fire smart, and reporting fires whenever we see them.
I know that many of us are still exhausted from the disasters of last year, with some of us still picking up the pieces and working towards full recovery.
It’s a long road, and one that desperately needs to see further action for government. I hope that in the year ahead, our NDP government gets ready to better prepare and better support our communities through climate-related disasters, and sticks around to provide relief through the recovery that follows.