Conditions are dry and fires are burning in many parts of British Columbia.
Fires have come close to some of our towns and cities, and in Lytton, a wildfire devastated the community. In other cases, blazes near populated areas have grown quickly and roads have been closed while crews attempt to bring wildfires under control.
These conditions are not normal. The number of hectares burned this year to date is roughly twice what is normal for this period. The provincial government has issued a province-wide state of emergency because of the extreme fire hazard.
However, this devastating wildfire season is not the first time the province has faced significant wildfire risks. The 2017 and 2018 seasons set records for the number of wildfires and the number of hectares burned.
Earlier, the 2003 wildfire caused significant damage near numerous communities in the B.C. Interior. Other devastating wildfire seasons have also left their marks on our province, and there are areas where burned trees and other damage still remain as a reminder of the destructive power of wildfires.
An active wildfire season is a serious matter.
Because of the conditions this year, some who had earlier planned to visit this province have cancelled their reservations because of the wildfire risks. Others have cut short their vacations, in cases of wildfires resulting in road closures when they are scheduled to leave.
Such decisions are not made lightly. Cancelling or shortening vacation plans is done when tourists believe the risks outweigh the benefits of a vacation in our province.
Those of us who live in this province, especially in dry areas of the B.C. Interior, have likely packed a grab-and-go bag and are ready in case of a sudden evacuation alert or evacuation order.
This summer’s busy wildfire season is a time for preparation and caution. The devastation and risks must be taken seriously.
— Black Press
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