Is B.C. headed for another devastating summer of wildfires?

Lessons learned: relationships matter when crisis hits

Photo: Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson visit areas affected by wildfires in the summer of 2017
By Tracy Sherlock
National Observer
May 9, 2018

With warm weather, a high snowpack and floodwaters rising throughout the province, it may seem like B.C. is set to repeat last year’s weather patterns, which led to a catastrophic summer of fires. But it’s still too early to reliably predict the wildfire forecast, even though there are already 45 active fires burning in B.C. and a few of those burned all winter. Last summer, the province was in a state of emergency for 10 weeks, about 65,000 people were forced from their homes, more than 190 houses were destroyed and the province was blanketed with thick smoke. More than $568 million was spent trying to control more than 1,346 fires that covered 1.2 million hectares. And it could get worse — wildfires are likely to increase in intensity and frequency, due to climate change, a report by Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy says. The results of a $900,000 investigation into last year’s fires and floods…are expected very soon.

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