Editor's Note

Preventable Nightmare

 | July 22, 2013

WildfireAfter another cold and wet June-uary, the Canada Day long weekend came in like a blast furnace, smashing temperature records in many B.C. towns. While this is great for camping and enjoying a long weekend, undoubtedly it’s a sign of things to come, and those things aren’t good. Yes folks, wildfire season in B.C. is now upon us and with most of the B.C. forests dead, dying or tinder dry, it could get ugly early.
Most people don’t think about wildfires because they’re often remotely located and removed from people’s everyday lives, but sadly we’re all at risk anywhere in B.C. All one has to do is search Kelowna or Barriere wildfire on the Internet to see the damage and heartbreak caused by interface wildfires. With more than 50 per cent of all wildfires caused by humans it’s up to all of us to be fire smart as our summer heats up.

Human caused wildfires can start with one simple spark to a blade of dry grass and the next thing you know the neighbourhood’s on fire. Discarded cigarettes, sparks from power tools, hot ATV exhausts are some of the many human causes that can lead to catastrophe.
Those who live in the Sun Peaks area will certainly remember the summer of 2003 when the Strawberry Hill fire tore up the North Thompson valley leading to mass evacuations and hundreds of scorched hectares. Luckily not many structures were lost and no lives were taken but it was all preventable had one careless soul used his or her car ashtray instead of flicking butts out the window. How hard is it to use your ashtray should you choose to smoke while driving?

One thing people seem to draw a blank on is the human side of wildfire and the stress, blood, sweat and tears put forth by those who are tasked with fighting wildfires each summer. Thinking about those 19 men who lost their lives in the Prescott, Ariz. wildfire last month certainly sears into the brain the reality of how dangerous wildfires can be, whether lightening caused like that one was, or one started by human negligence.

Before you toss your smoke, park your dirt bike, light your campfire, fire up your chainsaw or power tools remember the cost of what can happen to lives and property and give pause to make sure you’re not the cause of a wildfire this summer.
While we all like to have fun in the summer sun please do the right thing and teach your children about the real effects of wildfire and lead by example. If you see your friends acting recklessly, or you see someone toss a butt from their car, stand up and tell them it’s not OK because, just like all those families in Prescott, someone’s brother, son, father, sister, daughter or mother is on the front lines on a wildfire somewhere near you as you finish reading this sentence.