National Forest Week puts a focus on UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest

Along the Fraser: Fire prevention at UBC research forest

By Jack Emberly, retired teacher, local author & environmentalist
BC Local News

The ‘new normal’ for B.C. wildfires is ferocity. In 2017, a record, 12,161 sq. km burned. This year, 12,985. The gap has grown between expenditures for response to wildfires and those for planning, preparedness, and prevention. Trees in the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest cover 12,740 acres. I’m here, on a smoky Aug. 30, to tour its three-year-old fire prevention program with its designer, Jeremy Watkins. It’s our second meeting. In 2017, Watkins shared his “life-altering experience” fighting fire in Malcolm Knapp’s sister forest near Williams Lake. He and UBC forest manager Paul Lawson drove there in a fire truck they’d acquired. They’d completed the S100 Fire Fighting Course. Other staff have since. “We’re always adding to the plan,” Watkins says. “We’ve got a lot to protect here.”

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