Take care to prevent forest fires

Four out of 10 wildfires in B.C. are preventable, do your part

Only the youngest among us will not be familiar with the slogan: “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

That famous tagline was associated with Smokey the Bear for more than five decades starting in 1947. Before that Smokey’s catchphrase was: “Care will prevent nine out of 10 forest fires.”

The good news is, in the past 10 years, the average percentage of wildfires in B.C. caused by human carelessness was not anywhere near 90 per cent. The bad news is, it is still a whopping 42.5 per cent.

The other good news is, 2019 is not shaping up, so far, to be as nearly as bad as 2018. There had been 454 fires as of July 6 compared to 560 at the end of last June. That is about 80 per cent.

Over the last two weeks we have seen thunderstorms roll through the province that have ignited several fires including in the local area. Lightning remains the number one cause of fires and there is not much we can do about that, prevention-wise, except hope Mother Nature gives us the rain we need to limit the extent of the damage.

Obviously this year’s wildfire season has a long way to go, but let’s say for the sake of argument we stay on the current track of 80 per cent of last year. If so, we would see approximately 1,600 fires this year, or another 1,150. If roughly 40 per cent of those were caused by people, that is around 460 completely preventable fires.

That is 460 fires that could potentially threaten or destroy communities, cause evacuations, destroy timber and close mills impacting families’ livelihoods, kill wildlife, initiate environmental degradation, destroy recreational areas we all enjoy, and other impacts.

There are numerous ways human activity can start wildfires, such as open burning, the use of engines or vehicles, dropping burning substances such as cigarettes, or any number of other human-related activities that can create a spark or a heat source sufficient to ignite a wildfire. In other words: preventable.

The Interior News implores everybody to take care, observe open fire prohibitions and restrictions, learn about the risk mitigation steps you can take through the B.C. Firesmart program, and practice good vegetation and fuels management.

To paraphrase old Smokey, “Care will prevent four out of 10 forest fires.”

Would you really want to have all that devastation on your conscience?



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Mayoral nominations open Sept. 1

Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill confirms she will be running for the top job

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Friendship Centre optimistic MMIWG mural will be painted this year

Following trauma-informed healing workshops, project is now in the design phase

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic high-water levels that halted migration runs

B.C. marine ecologist wants Canada to sink its teeth into shark protection

Gulf Islands scientist says top predator under shocking threat from human behaviour

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help Surrey boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read