Editorial – Wildfires

Thousands upon thousands of hectares of B.C.’s lands have gone up in flames.

Last week, I read a story on my Facebook newsfeed entitled, “A province on fire.”

With above-freezing temperatures lasting throughout the winter and dry heat hitting the province this past spring and summer, thousands upon thousands of hectares of B.C.’s lands have gone up in flames.

According to CBC news, in an article entitled “B.C. fires: what you need to know,” as of noon on Monday, July 13 220 active fires were burning across the province, bringing the total wildfire count to 1,069, totalling 283,506 hectares.

A campfire ban was put into place throughout the province shortly after Canada Day and the ban remains in effect.

Mountains disappear, as smoke engulfs them.

Last Thursday, I travelled to Whistler B.C., excited to get a glimpse of the area’s beautiful scenery, but it was almost as if the mountains didn’t exist. While travelling to Tofino, you could see the smoke from the wildfires.

Fire crews from Ontario and Australia have been brought in to assist with the suppression of fires.

According to a CBC article, entitled, “B.C. fires: Christy Clark pledges to spend beyond budget on wildfires,” the province has already burned through its entire $64 million annual wildfire budget.

The province continues to spend funds on saving the land from wildfires.

Smoke from the forest fires has been so bad this past month that air quality advisories had to be put in place for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Even when I was in Banff, there were several tourists wearing protective facemasks.

In addition, 10 evacuation alerts were issued across the province, including a recent evacuation notice in Kragmont and an evacuation alert at Baynes Lake on Sunday, July 5.

In Kragmont, several residents were forced to temporarily leave the area.

The fire was mapped at 117 hectares.

Although several of the fires were found to have been caused by lightning strikes, some of them are predicted to be human-caused.

It’s important that while the province is under a fire ban, locals avoid dangerous activities, included throwing cigarette butts out of vehicles.

If an individual is found to have caused a wildfire, they can be charged in addition to potentially receiving jail time and being forced to pay the fire suppression fees, which could cost thousands of dollars.

It’s also essential that residents prepare themselves for an evacuation, which includes creating an emergency preparedness kit.