2018 Eutsuk Lake wildfire (File photo)

EDITORIAL: We need to change our fire behaviour

Most wildfires in BC during April and May were caused by humans.

It’s pretty easy not to start a forest fire. Regardless, most wildfires in B.C. during April and May 2019 were suspected to be caused by humans.

When seeing reports of wildfires, gut instinct is to blame climate change. Climate change is certainly a factor in recent years, and it will continue to be. Unusually dry conditions have caught people off guard, and their fires grew out of control.

These conditions are the new normal. Naturally occurring forest fires will of course continue, but people who set fires need to be more careful.

On April 1, 2019, a wildfire started in Squamish because of a backyard burn. On May 10, a 12-hectare wildfire started in Sayward after a slash burn got out of control. On May 13, a 250-hectare wildfire broke out in Oysoyoos because of a vehicle fire that spread to adjacent grass.

If you visit B.C. Wildfire Service online and open the interactive map, you’ll see that an overwhelming majority of the fires are caused by humans.

Whether you believe in climate change or not (it’s not really a debate though), one thing is clear: the people of British Columbia need to be much more mindful of their fire behaviour.

Most of us are sick and tired of watching our province burn year after year because of preventable fires. 2017 and 2018 were both record setting years for forest fires. Estimates say the cost of 2018 fires is $615 million.

In response, the BC provincial govrnment has increased its budget for wildifre spending by 58 percent, bringing the total annual budget to $101 million. That money will go toward funding more crews, enhancng aerial capacity, and funding fire prevention programs.

One of the biggest things the government says it can do better is build relationships with communities to educate people on fire risks, and better fire behaviour.

As time goes on, we will see hotter, dryer, longer summers. This will likely result in worsening fire seasons as well.

Now is the time to reflect on our fire behaviour, and change it for the better. We can’t afford any more years like the past two.

Just Posted

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Two B.C. suspects of a Canada-wide manhunt reportedly recorded a cellphone video… Continue reading

North Island drug deaths spike, rate second-highest in B.C.

Area spanning north from Comox Valley trails only Vancouver in fatal overdose rate

Dead Vancouver Island man identified, shoes and backpack missing

Investigators say body found in Saanich was Victoria’s Andrew Michael Sidor

Four years, no answers in murder of Deedee Brown

Chemainus-area teen was last seen with friends on Penelakut Island in summer of 2015

Protester threatens citizens arrest during morning federal funding announcement in Oak Bay

$4.3 million to protect at-risk species and their habitats, Uplands Park declared heritage site

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Parksville man, 75, goes missing from north Nanaimo home

Police dog services called in to help with search

Restrictions ordered to save fish in parched Cowichan Valley river

Province says Koksilah River fish populations under threat due to low water flows

Tow strap trips up Victoria cyclist

Police looking for witnesses to incident where cyclist hit line connecting vehicles

North Island wildfire listed as out of control

But Sara Lake blaze near Port Alice expected to be under control soon

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Graffiti clean up costs Victoria businesses roughly $1M a year

Business association teams up with city in campaign to reduce graffiti in downtown

PHOTOS: Hundreds welcome HMSC Regina home to Vancouver Island

Navy ship returns to Esquimalt after nearly 6 months at sea

Most Read