A property in Sumas Prairie as seen from Highway 1 on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A property in Sumas Prairie as seen from Highway 1 on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

EDITORIAL: Preparing for disaster

The past year has been defined by unusual weather events and climate irregularities, punctuated in brutal fashion last week by catastrophic flooding in the Fraser Valley, and severe damage to major highway routes to the Interior.

This summer, heat records in Canada and especially in British Columbia were shattered, with temperatures breaking records by several degrees. Those past records had been set in the late 1930s.

British Columbia’s 2021 wildfire season was the third-worst in recorded history. Smoke blanketed many communities throughout the province, and British Columbians watched to see if their communities would be at risk from a wildfire. The community of Lytton was destroyed by fire during the summer.

Recovering and rebuilding from each of these events is a massive and costly undertaking.

In recent years, weather anomalies have become more frequent than in the past, and the outcomes have been more severe than before. There is no question that the climate is changing, and underlying message is critical. We need new strategies to deal with natural disasters and massive weather-related disruptions.

Future years could prove even more challenging than what we have experienced in the past few years.

Forest management, fire controls, flood prevention and other initiatives are essential. The cost and resources to create greater resiliency to wild weather events is monumental.

The outstanding efforts of emergency personnel, construction crews, vounteers and government action is duly noted and deeply appreciated during each recent natural disaster.

But without further planning, and investment, weather dramas such as those seen over the past year could result in a level of devastation none of us can comprehend.

— Black Press

agassizEditorials