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

Just Posted

Harrison to replace final incandescent street lights with LEDs

The $186,000 project is the second-phase of a replacement plan for the village

Harrison Hot Springs to consider single-use plastics ban

Village staff will come back to council with a report on what a possible ban could look like

Wonder Pup book series by Chilliwack author teaches kids self-regulation skills

Author Angela Murphy and illustrator Davis Graham release first book Speak Up, Wonder Pup

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge construction could start in 2021, MLA says

The project is expected to cost substantially more than budgeted in 2017

Fraser Valley developer offering to build barn owl nesting boxes for free

Gore Brothers says anyone with a suitable building can help the threatened raptor

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Update: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

CP rail has closed tracks while firefighters work

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

Most Read