Can government incentives to private companies help solve B.C.’s wildfire crisis?

Fire ecologist Robert Gray makes the same argument every year — wildfires are at a crisis level and removing their fuel by thinning British Columbia’s forests is the best way to mitigate them.

Gray also gets frustrated annually at what he believes is a lack of investment in wildfire prevention in B.C., especially after devastating seasons in 2017 and 2018.

That’s why he is taking an entirely different approach this time, knowing full well it won’t be popular with many people in the construction industry and free market capitalists.

The idea, in a nutshell, is for the provincial government to provide financial incentives for private companies to remove the biomass that jeopardizes B.C.’s forests.

“We understand the fire science pretty well, but maybe this is an economics issue,” said Gray, a private consultant.

“Maybe we’re approaching it the wrong way.”

 

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IMAGE: Fire ecologist Robert Gray says more fuel needs to be cleared from B.C.’s forests to prevent wildfires. (Christian Amundson/CBC)