More 'prescribed burns' could prevent wildfires, save money: experts
Published Thursday, August 24, 2017 10:29PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 25, 2017 10:36AM EDT
British Columbia is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record and some experts say part of the solution is more “prescribed burning.”
Lori Daniels, a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia, says that forest fires are a “critical part of the ecosystem” and the province’s current strategy to fight as many blazes as possible can make things worse.
That’s because putting out fires that aren’t threatening homes leaves them full of dry, dead material that makes later fires spread even faster and further.
“When we remove fire from the landscape, we make the forest more uniform and susceptible to fast-moving fires that are hard to contain,” Daniels says.
Dan Perrakis and Steve Taylor of Natural Resources Canada say that, in the long run, it would be better to do more “prescribed burns” in rural areas.
Daniels agrees, saying that would also save B.C. taxpayers money. “We’ve spent $1.8 billion over the last decade fighting fires and $78 million to try to apply these well-known techniques.”
The B.C. government has said it’s open to exploring new forest management strategies, but its focus for now is on protecting communities.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy