Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation

Wildfire was the topic of discussion as delegates were provided a glimpse into the future of fire prevention and mitigation in B.C. With more than 1200 fires, 1.2 million hectares of land burned, 4000 evacuees and costs nearing $500 million, this summer was the worst wildfire season in B.C.’s history.

Madeline Maley, Executive Director of the B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) assured delegates that a comprehensive review of BCWS and the FireSmart program is currently underway, along with the development of a research and innovation program for preventing wildfires. Part of the program development will involve BCWS determining the best way to engage with the public and work with other jurisdictions across Canada to develop innovative solutions to wildfire mitigation.

In his presentation, Ian Meier, BCWS Director of Wildfire Management, outlined a set of tools that can help reduce catastrophic loss due to wildfire. He also said that BCWS is developing a website dedicated to wildfire prevention education and that two community engagement specialists have been hired to develop the site.

Maley and Meier also indicated that controlled burns could soon be returning to B.C.’s landscape. Maley said there was support for using controlled burns selectively as an effective method of dealing with grasslands and some forest stands that pose annual threats to communities.

Fire Commissioner Gordon Anderson and Phil Lemire, President of the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C., rounded out the presentation to the delegates. 

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