Wildfire prevention should start at the roots

The Little Bobtail Lake fire, burning for two weeks andforced an evacuation of 80 people from their homes, is currently under investigation

The Little Bobtail Lake Fire is currently 80 per cent under control after two weeks. The fire claimed 25

Michele Taylor

Caledonia Courier

The Little Bobtail Lake fire, which has been burning for two weeks and forced an evacuation of 80 people from their homes, is currently under investigation by the RCMP and the Wildfire Management Branch.

Penalties for starting a wildfire can be up to $1-million in fines, a year in prison or if found guilty, offenders could be held responsible for the costs associated with fighting the fire.

At the height of the firefighting efforts, 320 firefighters, 8 helicopters, 46 pieces of heavy equipment and 6 air tankers were working to control and extinguish the wildfire, those costs are substantial. The wildfire claimed 25,000 hectares (more than 61,000 acres) of ecosystem resources and potentially disrupted hydrologic functioning in waterways.

The most recent update on the fire puts an estimated cost of $5.3M for the personnel and equipment utilized to fight the wildfire. Someone’s possible carelessness has cost the region and the taxpayers millions of dollars that had potential for better use. That hefty cost doesn’t include the loss to the residents that had to subsequently be evacuated or the mental anguish which those residents most certainly experienced at the possibility of losing everything.

Insurance won’t bring back memories.

In 2013, approximately $122M was spent on wildfire suppression province-wide, with 414 of the 1,851 fires in the province being caused by people, according to Wildfire Management Branch statistics. Between 2006 and 2013, the province has recovered less than 1 per cent of damages and of the more than 5,800 human caused fires, only convicting 34 people with contraventions of the Wildfire Act (SBC 2004) with 15 to 20 contravention proceedings in continuing stages of completion.

With such unimpressive results in finding and charging persons responsible and recovering costs associated with fighting wildfires caused by people, the province might be better served by placing province-wide fire bans beginning shortly after the spring melt. Money spent proactively by investing in the increased presence of wildlife and forestry officials across the province could provide a more effective means to offset some of the millions of dollars spent annually fighting fires caused by people.

As the saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 

Just Posted

Editorial: Actions speak louder than (Facebook) words

When Facebook first made its mainstream debut on the web, it was… Continue reading

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Column: 2018 could be a record year for Douglas fir seed production

Columnist Jim Hilton tries his hand a fir-cone picking

USW strike action concludes after one day in Williams Lake

Union vice-president says talks resume in Kelowna Wednesday

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Most Read