The Sparks Lake wildfire shown on June 30, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

The Sparks Lake wildfire shown on June 30, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

EDITORIAL: Prepare now for future fire seasons

In 2021, wildfires were raging across British Columbia

So far this summer, the typical hot and sunny days have been few and far between in many regions of British Columbia, replaced by cool and rainy conditions.

This is a reprieve from last year, when record high temperatures were recorded and when an intense wildfire season caused immense damage. The fire season of 2021 was the third-worst on record in this province, behind 2018 and 2017.

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By the second week in July, the province had recorded just 239 wildfires, with 5,249 hectares burned. Those numbers have gone up in the past week with warmer temperatures settling in.

This is significantly less than at the same time in previous years. A year ago, wildfires were raging across British Columbia and in late July, a provincial state of emergency was issued, lasting 56 days.

The wildfires of 2021 destroyed 869,279 hectares and the firefighting efforts cost around $565 million. Evacuation orders and evacuation alerts were frequent during the summer and smoky skies affected air quality around the province. Homes were destroyed and the rebuilding efforts are continuing.

After some of the intense fire seasons in recent years, there are concerns about the possibility of similar conditions in the years to come.

As a result, this year’s quiet fire season should be seen as a time to prepare for future wildfires.

FireSmart BC has information on its website to help property owners reduce their risk of wildfire damage. This includes home maintenance tips and landscaping suggestions. In addition, fire departments in many communities will conduct fire risk assessments for homeowners, especially those in forest interface areas.

In addition, this is the time to put together detailed plans to prepare for future evacuation alerts and orders.

While nobody wants to see another fire season like those of 2018, 2017 and 2021, it is important to prepare now for when such conditions occur in the future.

– Black Press

B.C. Wildfires 2021B.C. Wildfires 2022Editorials

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