‘It’s not even close to enough’
First, the good news: Experts say that after 15 years of serious neglect, the province is finally taking substantial steps toward reducing the risk of wildfires as well as their impact on British Columbians. The bad news is it won’t be enough to make a difference before the 2019 fire season. “It’s clear it’s not even close to enough. It’s slowly increasing, but from such a low level,” said Kevin Kriese, chair of the Forest Practices Board, the independent watchdog for forest management. Even if B.C. were to dramatically ramp up prevention efforts, he said, “it’ll take a decade or two to really get on top of it.” In the meantime, the province risks more record-breaking summers like the wildfire seasons of 2017 and 2018. …But for more than a decade, as firefighting costs keep climbing, the provincial government has dedicated a comparatively tiny amount to prevention.