Thunderstorms are exciting in the city, but at this time of year, when it’s been so dry, living out in forested areas makes thunder and lightening more of a nerve-wracking thing. The serious fires aren’t yet near my friends who live off the grid halfway up a forested mountain, but they are troubling many many people in the province right now.

The picture above is from the provincial government’s wildfire website for 11:30 p.m., July 8, 2017. Yesterday there were only 3 major “fires of note.” Today that’s doubled.

I’ve often thought of living in a remote area, but apart from my lack of extreme outdoor skills, the fire fear has killed it for me, hands-down. Forests and fires are not that well-managed here, meaning that we don’t do controlled burns. I’ve seen them done on the prairies, so I was surprised to learn a while back we don’t do them here in BC.

Just to review a cliche that should be common knowledge – Smokey the bear and the “Only you can prevent forest fires” from my childhood in the 60s. Yes, it’s good not to throw cigarettes out on the ground, especially in dry or wild areas. However, preventing all forest firest causes problems because we are not going with nature. Nature, at some point, wants fires, and the forest needs them. Nature – natural ecology. The natural patterns of wild forests include fires. Another cliche: Some seeds need fire to open. Another cliche: Fires create variety within a forest, which increases biodiversity and resilience. Stopping fires but leaving fuel on the ground leads to bigger fires in future.

So, yeah, that makes it even more scary than a natural fire pattern, because we’ve made it worse. And likely so will climate change. More energy and variability in the system (ie climate change showing a higher average temperature on the long-term) means more and bigger fires, generally speaking.

So, right now some beautiful rain would be great, because it’s shaping up to be an ugly fire season th is year.

 

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